New Delhi: All 13 personnel on board the missing AN-32 aircraft, which crashed in Arunachal Pradesh, have died, the Indian Air Force said on Thursday.
“IAF is sad to inform that there are no survivors from the crash of An32,” the Force said in a tweet.
“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,” the Air Force said in another tweet.
Giving the names of the dead personnel, another tweet said “Following air-warriors lost their life in the tragic #An32 crash – W/C GM Charles, S/L H Vinod, F/L R Thapa, F/L A Tanwar, F/L S Mohanty, F/L MK Garg, WO KK Mishra, Sgt Anoop Kumar, Cpl Sherin, LAC SK Singh, LAC Pankaj, NC(E) Putali & NC(E) Rajesh Kumar.”
In an earlier update, the IAF said eight members of the rescue team have reached the crash site today morning.
The Indian Air Force search teams managed to reach the AN-32 crash site on Thursday morning after they could not reach the site on Wednesday due to bad weather.
Air Force sources said today that blockage of view due to clouds could have been the reason behind the crash of AN-32 transport aircraft in Arunachal Pradesh.
The crash point of the aircraft shows how close it was to clear the hill but could not, probably due to blockage of view due to clouds, the sources said. Pictures of the crash site suggested that the aircraft was trying to climb over the mountain top but failed to do so.
The AN-32 aircraft with 13 IAF personnel onboard went missing on May 3 after getting airborne from Jorhat. The aircraft was headed towards Mechuka Advanced Landing Ground in Arunachal Pradesh when it lost contact with ground authorities at around 1300 hours.
The families of the 13 personnel have already been informed that there are no survivors.
Defence sources on Wednesday stated that the operation to airlift 15 mountaineers by helicopters to search for possible survivors in the site is complete. However, the team was yet to reach the crash site due to inclement weather and terrain. On Wednesday, the team campaigned overnight due to difficult terrain and weather.
The IAF had on Wednesday airdropped 8 to 10 personnel near the crash site of the missing aircraft AN-32 in Arunachal Pradesh in two helicopter sorties. A team of Army and civil mountaineers were also airlifted to a location close to the place of the crash of the missing AN-32 aircraft.
After eight days of intensive search and rescue operations, which included missions by Sukhoi-30 MKI aircraft, C-130J Special Operations plane, several choppers, UAVs, Naval P-8I aircraft, Global- 5000 surveillance aircraft of the Aviation Research Centre and even use of ISRO and NTRO satellites, the wreckage of the aircraft was finally located on Tuesday.
The wreckage of the plane was located 16 km north of Lipo at an elevation of 12000 feet by Mi-17 choppers of the IAF undertaking search operations in the expanded search zone.
IAF has lost more than 10 aircraft this year in various crashes.