IAF AN-32 crash: 13 'air warriors' lose lives after plane crashed en route Mechuka in Arunachal Pradesh; black box recovered

The Indian Air Force (IAF) search teams did not find any survivors as they reached the AN-32 crash site in Arunachal Pradesh on Thursday morning, IAF said. The team recovered the aircraft's black box, which may help in discovering the cause of the crash, ANI reported. Choppers would be used to ferry the bodies from the crash site.

The families of the 13 personnel on board the ill-fated transport aircraft were informed and IAF tweeted to pay their respects to the 'air warriors'.

Wing Commander GM Charles, Squadron Leader H Vinod, Flight Lieutenant R Thapa, Flight Lieutenant A Tanwar, Flight Lieutenant S Mohanty, Flight Lieutenant MK Garg, Warrant Officer KK Mishra, Sergeant Anoop Kumar, Corporal Sherin, Leading aircraftman SK Singh, Leading aircraftman Pankaj, NC(E) Putali and NC(E) Rajesh Kumar are those who lost their lives in the tragic incident.

Eight days after the plane took off from Jorhat in Assam, its wreckage was spotted 16 kilometres North of Lipo, North East of Tato at an approximate elevation of 12,000 ft by an IAF Mi-17 helicopter undertaking search in the expanded search zone.

Air Force sources said on Wednesday that blockage of view due to clouds could have been the reason behind the crash of AN-32 transport aircraft in Arunachal Pradesh. Pictures of the crash site suggested that the aircraft was trying to climb over the mountain top but failed to do so, ANI reported.

The AN-32 aircraft with 13 IAF personnel onboard went missing on May 3 after getting airborne from Jorhat.

Thereafter, IAF sent several of its resources to search for survivors. Four Garud Commando Force officers were dropped at the crash site as a part of the recovery party, and a camp was established at the point where the wreckage was spotted. A team comprising personnel from IAF, the Indian Army and civil mountaineers was also airlifted to a location close to the crash site, IAF said.

Even as the rough terrain weather and thick vegetation slowed down the progress of the rescue team and made it tough for them to locate survivors, the team continued to camp for two days, before the IAF announced on Thursday that no survivor has been found.

The aircraft, which was overdue for landing for more than two hours in Menchuka airfield of Arunachal Pradesh, last contacted ground sources at 1 pm on 3 June, after taking off from Jorhat airbase at 12.25 pm.

To locate the missing aircraft, IAF launched Sukhoi-30 combat aircraft and C-130 special operation aircraft on a search mission. It also launched ground troops for locating the aircraft and people on board. C-130J Special Operations plane, several choppers, UAVs, Global- 5000 surveillance aircraft of the Aviation Research Centre and even ISRO and NTRO satellites were used over the course of eight days. The Indian Navy had also joined in the operation by deploying its long-range maritime reconnaissance aircraft.

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Updated Date: Jun 13, 2019 16:12:06 IST