The 15-member search and rescue team was air dropped near the wreckage site of AN-32 aircraft in northern Arunachal Pradesh on June 12.

After 18 days IAF retrieves stranded rescue team from AN-32 crash site
news Rescue Sunday, June 30, 2019 - 07:32

After sending home mortal remains of the air warriors of AN_32 aircraft, which crased on June 13 in Arunachal Pradesh, the search and rescue team was retrieved on Saturday evening, the Indian Air Force (IAF) said. The 15 members of the search and rescue team, which was engaged in the search of the AN-32 aircraft since June 12, got stranded in the crash site along the Indo-China border due to bad weather and rains, said defence spokesperson Wing Commander Ratnakar Singh.

“All the 15 members of the team, including eight from the IAF, four from the Army and three other civilian rescuers, were retrieved today (Saturday) using ALH and Mi-17V5 helicopters," Singh said, adding, “The weather condition improved slightly today, allowing the risky helicopter operations to be undertaken. We did that and the team was retrieved.” All the members were fit and in good health, he added.

The AN-32 aircraft of the Indian Air Force went missing after taking off from the Jorhat air base in Assam for Mechuka advanced landing ground in Arunachal Pradesh on June 3. The aircraft, with 13 on board, had last contacted the ground sources at 1 pm.

The wreckage was spotted on June 11 in northern Arunachal Pradesh, at 16 km north of Lipo, northeast of Tato, at an approximate elevation of 12,000 feet.

Two days after the wreckage of the AN-32 was spotted, the IAF confirmed that there are no survivors among the 13 who were on board the aircraft.

Among air marshalls who lost their life in the crash are: Wing Commander GM Charles, Second Lieutenant 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, Non Combatant (Enrolled) Putali and Non Combatant (Enrolled) Rajesh Kumar.

The rescue team, which was air dropped near the wreckage site of the aircraft on June 12, subsequently retrieved the bodies and mortal remains of 13 air warriors. However, the rescue team got stranded there due to bad weather.

(With inputs from IANS)

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