The Indian Air Force (IAF) today confirmed that there were no survivors amongst the 13 people who were on board an An-32 transport aircraft that went missing in Arunachal Pradesh on June 3.
"Eight members of the rescue team have reached the crash site today morning. IAF is sad to inform that there are no survivors from the crash of An32," the IAF said in a post on micro-blogging site Twitter.
There were eight members of crew and five passengers on board the aircraft.
"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," the IAF said.
"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," it added.
The aircraft had gone missing on June 2 while on a flight from Jorhat in Assam to the Mechua Advanced Landing Ground (ALG) in West Siang district of Arunachal Pradesh. The plane, which had taken off at 12.27 pm, lost contact with the ground staff at 1.30 pm.
After days of search, the IAF announced on Tuesday that one of its Mi17 helicopters had spotted the wreckage of the aircraft at Lipo, northeast of Tato, at an approximate elevation of 12,000 feet.
Since then, hectic efforts were made to reach the site of the crash to establish the status of those on board and to search for the black box and cockpit voice recorder of the aircraft.
Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Eastern Air Command, Air Marshal R. D. Mathur has been monitoring the search and rescue operations.
On June 8, the IAF had announced a reward of Rs 5 lakh for any information leading to the location of the missing aircraft.
Mi-17 helocopters, Advanced Light Helicopters, SU-30 MKI, C130 and Army UAV were pressed into service during the search operations. The Indian Navy's Long Range Maritime reconnaissance aircraft P-8I and satellites were also used.
Besides, teams of the Indian Army, the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP), local police and other agencies were involved in the search operations on the ground level from the day the aircraft went missing.
The search and rescue efforts were intensified after the crash site was locted. Four Garud commandos of the IAF were dropped by helicopter yesterday near the site, where a camp has been established.
Also yesterday, a team that included Army and civil mountaineers was airlifted to a location close to the crash site, official sources said.
The thickly forested mountainous terrain and inclement weather had made the task of locating and reaching the crash site extremely difficult.
The Air Force flies sorties regularly to forward areas to carry essential items for the troops posted there.
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