New Delhi: The wreckage of AN-32 aircraft of the Indian Air Force (IAF), which went missing eight days ago on June 3, with 13 people on board, was found on Tuesday in the Lipo locality of Arunachal Pradesh, official sources said.
The wreckage was spotted 16 km north of Lipo by a Mi-17 helicopter of the IAF. “Efforts are now continuing to establish the status of occupants and establish survivors,” the Air Force tweeted.
Efforts are now continuing to establish the status of occupants & establish survivors. Further details will be communicated as the recovery actions progress.
— Indian Air Force (@IAF_MCC) June 11, 2019
On June 3, Russian-origin twin-engine turboprop transport AN-32 aircraft lost contact with the Air Traffic Control 35 minutes after taking off from Jorhat in Assam for an advanced landing ground in Mechuka situated close to the India-China border.
According to a report in NDTV, Scores of IAF and army helicopters, that included the IAF’s C-130J transport aircraft, Sukhoi Su-30 fighter jets and the NAVY P8-I search aircraft, had been involved in the search operation. In addition, the Air Force had deployed a long-range maritime reconnaissance aircraft from Tamil Nadu for the search and rescue operation.
The search operation encountered difficulty due to the terrain and erratic weather as frequent bouts of rainfall and a thick cloud cover hampered efforts. Teams from the army, Navy and Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) troops had worked round the clock for the search operation, using night-time sensors.
On Sunday, seven mountaineers, including two who had previously scaled Mount Everest, joined the search operation for the missing AN 32 aircraft.
No distress signal had been detected by satellites from the plane’s Search and Rescue Beacon. Indian Express reported that the IAF was in the process of upgrading the technology of the beacons which are installed in the cargo compartment of the AN-32
(With inputs from PTI)