Wreckage of the missing Indian Air Force (IAF) An-32 transport aircraft was spotted 16 kilometers north of Lipo, north east of Tato in Arunanchal Pradesh on June 11, eight days after it went off the radars.
According to the IAF, the wreckage was spotted at an approximate elevation of 12000 ft by an Air Force Mi-17 helicopter undertaking search in the expanded search zone. The authorities are now continuing its efforts to establish the status of occupants and establish if there are any survivors.
Visual of the wreckage of the missing AN-32 spotted earlier today 16 Kms North of Lipo, North East of Tato, at an approximate elevation of 12000 ft, in Arunachal Pradesh by the IAF Mi-17 Helicopter undertaking search in the expanded search zone pic.twitter.com/8ASt4uZXdE
— ANI (@ANI) June 11, 2019
After identification of the wreckage by the Mi-17V5 helicopter, an IAF Cheetah and an Indian Army Dhruv ALH helicopters reached the crash site, but due to high elevation and dense forest, the helicopters could not land next to the crash site. IAF said in a statement that a nearest landing site has been identified and the rescue operation by helicopters will commence early morning on June 12. It added that the ground forces will continue their trek to reach the crash site during the night.
Further details will be communicated as the recovery actions progress, added the IAF statement.
The aircraft, with 13 people on board, went missing after taking off from the Jorhat Air Force Station in Assam, on Monday, June 3. The aircraft was flying to the Mechuka Advanced Landing Ground in Arunachal Pradesh when it lost contact with the ground around 35 minutes into the flight. Mechuka ALG is near India’s border with China.
During the eight day long search operation, the Air Force had deployed C-130J Super Hercules tactical airlifter, An-32 aircraft, Su-30 fighter aircraft, Mi-17 helicopters and Dhruv ALH (Advanced Light Helicopter) helicopters. The Army deployed Dhruv helicopters and UAVs while the Navy deployed P-8I Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft to support the operation. Personnel from Indian Army and Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) and local civic officials of Arunachal Pradesh have also joined the search operation.
ISRO’s CARTOSAT AND RISAT earth observation scanned the area for the missing aircraft.
In July 2016, an An-32 had gone missing over the Bay of Bengal after taking off from Tambaram Air Force Station in Chennai to Port Blair, the capital of Andaman and Nicobar Islands, with 29 people on board. The aircraft is yet to be located and the cause of the incident is also not known.