AN-32 | Rescuers to camp tonight

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UPDATE:

The induction of 15 mountaineers from helicopters is complete.

They are yet to reach the crash site due to inclement weather and terrain.

The team will be camping overnight due to difficult terrain and weather and will close into the crash site tomorrow.

The Air Force successfully dropped eight to ten personnel near the crash site in two helicopter sorties, 15 mountaineers — nine from the Air Force, four from the Army and two civilians — have also been deployed. A few have reached the crash site, and others are scouring the surroundings woods for possible signs of survivors.

An An-32 aircraft that went missing with 13 people aboard last week slammed into the face of a mountain very close to its summit in Arunachal Pradesh’s Mechuka region, a new photograph released by the Indian Air Force shows.

This is the clearest image of the wreckage to have emerged so far. The An-32 aircraft was first spotted by a Mi-17 helicopter yesterday from a height of 12,000 feet, and rescue workers are currently trying to find bodies and possible survivors.

Search operations began around 6.30 am today. While the Air Force successfully dropped eight to ten personnel near the crash site in two helicopter sorties, 15 mountaineers — nine from the Air Force, four from the Army and two civilians — have also been deployed. A few have reached the crash site, and others are scouring the surroundings woods for possible signs of survivors.

Local mountaineers who sighted the crash site have also been roped in by the Siang district administration.

The An-32, a Soviet-designed twin-engine turboprop transport aircraft, had vanished from the radar around 1 pm on June 3 while flying from Jorhat in Assam to a remote military landing strip in Arunachal Pradesh’s Mechuka. An IAF C-130J transport aircraft, Sukhoi Su-30 fighter jets, NAVY P8-I search aircraft and a fleet of IAF and Army helicopters were deployed for the search over the last eight days. The Air Force used two Mi-17s and an Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH), the P8i — a long-range maritime reconnaissance aircraft from Tamil Nadu — for the purpose.

The IAF paratroopers and commandos have reached the crash site of the AN 32 as after a rescue operation that ran for eight days, the wreckage of the crashed An-32 aircraft of the Indian Air Force was finally spotted yesterday afternoon.

The ground force had an overnight march and should be reaching any moment but the IAF had dropped commando units and the helicopters have landed the nearest site to launch the major operation during the day.

The IAF official informed that with weather holding, the salvage operation will be in full force.

The wreckage of the An-32 aircraft of the Indian Air Force was spotted on Tuesday 16 km north of Lipo in Arunachal Pradesh. After the identification of the wreckage of An-32 by Mi-17V5, Cheetah of IAF and Advanced Light Helicopters (ALH) of Indian Army reached the crash site. Due to high elevation and dense forest, helicopters could not land next to the crash site.

The An-32 aircraft had 13 people on board and the IAF said efforts are on to establish the status of the occupants.

Deputy Director APEDA Er. Somar Potom, who has been deputed by the West Siang District administration to be part of the Search Operation disclosed that though the wreckage site has been spotted, he along with Pilots, IAF authority have started for close and final survey.

Er. Potom is with the Search Team for the last six days to locate route and terrain of that area. ISRO’s Cartosat and RISAT satellites were also used to take images of the area around Menchuka.

Deputy Commissioner of Siang district Rajeev Takuk said the wreckage of the aircraft was spotted near Pari hills which is close to Gatte village under Payum circle in Arunachal Pradesh.

The crew members of the ill fated AN 32

     “The wreckage was spotted near Pari hills, a few kilometres from Gatte village. However, the area is inaccessible as there is no road communication,” Takuk told  PTI.

The Russian-origin AN-32 aircraft was going from Jorhat in Assam to Menchuka advanced landing ground near the border with China on June 3 when it lost contact with ground staff at 1 pm, within 33 minutes of taking off.

The IAF launched a massive operation after the aircraft went missing but the search was badly hit due to poor weather conditions.

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