The Indian Air Force, Army and the civil administration of Arunachal Pradesh started a massive operation on Wednesday to reach the site where the AN-32 aircraft of the Indian Air Force had crashed on June 3.

Rescue operation by helicopters commenced early on Wednesday at the crash site of AN-32 with Mi 17s and Advanced Light Helicopters (ALH) of the Indian Army being utilised.

The wreckage was spotted on Tuesday afternoon when the joint teams of IAF, Army and the civil administration carried out an aerial survey in the area.

The debris of the Antonov AN-32 aircraft was spotted 16 km north of Lipo, North East of Tato at an approximate elevation of 12000 ft by Mi-17 Helicopter undertaking search operations in the expanded search zone.

“It is likely to take some time for the ground parties to reach the crash site. The area has thick vegetation and the tough terrain often prevents the ground search party from advancing,” said a senior official of Shi Yomi district.

Although the IAF has spotted the wreckage, nothing is yet clear about the fate of the 13 people on board the aircraft.

Defence PRO, Wing Commander Ratnakar Singh informed that after having located the crash site, a team comprising personnel from IAF, Army and civil mountaineers have been airlifted to a location close to the crash site

The IAF aircraft went missing on June 3 with 13 officers on board after taking off from Assam’s Jorhat airbase for Menchuka Advance Landing Ground in Arunachal Pradesh.

The aircraft had last contacted ground sources at 1 pm on June 3 after taking off from Assam airbase at 12:25 pm.

Fighter aircraft, helicopters, aircraft carrying specialised sensors, satellites and all possible civil, police and local administrative agencies were pressed into service to locate the missing plane.

The Indian Navy had also deployed its long-range Maritime Reconnaissance aircraft P8I to join the rescue mission.

ISRO too was brought in to enhance the effectiveness of the search operations.