Wreckage of AN-32 found
   Date :12-Jun-2019

 
NEW DELHI:
 
The aircraft had 13 people on board and the IAF said efforts are on to establish status of the occupants 
 
THE wreckage of the AN-32 aircraft of the Indian Air Force was spotted on Tuesday in a heavily forested mountainous terrain in Arunachal Pradesh, eight days after it went missing with 13 people on board after taking off from Assam’s Jorhat. The IAF said efforts are on to establish the status of occupants amid fears of that chances of any survivor in the one of worst accidents involving a military platform in recent years may be very bleak. “The wreckage of the aircraft was spotted on Tuesday 16 kms North of Lipo, North East of Tato at an approximate elevation of 12,000 feet by an IAF Mi-17 helicopter undertaking search in the expanded search zone,” the IAF said in a statement.
 
“Efforts are now continuing to establish the status of occupants and establish survivors,” it said. An IAF official said after identifying the wreckage of the AN 32, a Cheetah helicopter and an ALH chopper reached the crash site but could not land due to high elevation and dense forest. “However, nearest landing site has been identified and the rescue operation by helicopters will commence tomorrow early morning. Ground forces will continue to reach the crash site during the night,” he said. Another official said the IAF will send its special commandos ‘Garud’ to the crash site and carry out an exercise to look for possible survivors. 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. The assets deployed for the operation included Sukhoi-30 aircraft in addition to a fleet of C-130J and AN-32 planes and Mi-17 and ALH helicopters. The ground forces included troops from the Army, Indo Tibetan Border Police and state police.
 
The Indian Navy’s P-8I aircraft was also deployed earlier this week as it has electro-optical and infra-red sensors which could be helpful in the search operation. 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 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.