Days after the wreckage of the AN-32 was spotted, the Indian Air Force has confirmed that there are no survivors among the 13 who were on board the aircraft, which crashed on June 3 in Arunachal Pradesh. An eight-member rescue team had reached the crash site on Thursday morning to search for survivors.
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 AN-32, which is a transport aircraft, took off on June 3 at 12.25 pm from the Jorhat airbase in Assam for the Mechuka Advanced Landing Ground in Arunachal Pradesh's Shi-Yomi district, which borders China. The aircraft, with 13 on board, had last contacted the ground sources at 1 pm.
The wreckage was spotted on Tuesday in northern Arunachal Pradesh, at 16 km north of Lipo, northeast of Tato, at an approximate elevation of 12,000 feet. An IAF Mi-17 helicopter was used for the search operation.
The IAF had initiated a massive search for the aircraft and resources from various agencies, including ISRO, were brought into the operation to enhance its effectiveness. However, bad weather over the last week had hampered the search operation. On June 8, the IAF said that the area of the search is mountainous and heavily forested with thick undergrowth.
The weather had also been inclement with low clouds and rain during most hours and combined with the inhospitable terrain, it posed serious challenges to the aerial search operation.
The IAF had deployed Indian Navyâ€™s P8i aircraft, IAFâ€™s C-130 aircraft, Mi-17 helicopters, Advanced Light Helicopters (ALH) as well as Cheetah helicopters to conduct the aerial search operations. In addition to these, Indian Armyâ€™s ALH helicopters were also deployed. The IAF had tweeted that around 150 such aircraft and helicopters were engaged in the operation to locate the missing AN-32.
In addition to the aerial search, there were also searches by ground teams of the Indian Army, the Indo-Tibetan Border Force (ITBP), the state police as well as members of the local population were also carried out.
Paying tribute to the air-warriors, IAF said it stands by with the families of the victims.
IAF Pays tribute to the brave Air-warriors who lost their life during the #An32 crash on 03 Jun 2019 and stands by with the families of the victims. May their soul rest in peace.â€” Indian Air Force (@IAF_MCC) June 13, 2019