The Indian Air Force on Thursday confirmed that there were no survivors from the AN-32 aircraft that had crashed near Lipo in Arunachal Pradesh on June 3.
The families of the 13 personnel were informed of the development after an eight-member rescue team reached the AN-32 crash site today morning and found no survivors.
In a Twitter post, the IAF also paid tributes to the air warriors who had lost their lives in the tragic AN-32 crash.
The terrain, weather and thick vegetation had slowed down the progress of the rescue team in reaching the crash site.
The wreckage of the Antonov AN-32 aircraft was spotted on Tuesday — eight days after the crash — 16 km north of Lipo, North East of Tato at an approximate elevation of 12000 ft by Mi-17 Helicopter undertaking search operations.
Following this, a team comprising personnel from IAF, Army and civil mountaineers were 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 and the ISRO were also pressed into service.
In July 2016, an Indian Air Force An-32 aircraft went missing over the Bay of Bengal with 29 people on board while on its way to Port Blair from Tambaram Air Force Station in Chennai.
Despite a massive search operation – India’s largest search operation for a missing plane over the sea – involving the ships and aircraft of Indian Navy and the IAF and scanning of 2,17,800 square nautical miles of Bay and Bengal, the aircraft could not be found.
After months of search, the rescue operation was called off. The government informed the then Lok Sabha that there were no survivors on board the aircraft.
In June 2009, an AN-32 aircraft went missing after going off the radar was later found to have crashed in the jungles between West Singa and Shi Yomi districts.
The aircraft was carrying 13 people and was flying for Mechuka advanced landing ground.
Below are the IAF officers who lost their lives in the June 3 AN-32 crash:
Wing Commander GM Charles, Squadron leader H Vinod, Flight lieutenant R Thapa, Flight lieutenant A Tanwar, Flight lieutenant S Mohanty, Flight lieutenant MK Garg, Warrant Officer KK Mishra, Sergeant Anoop Kumar, Corporal Sherin, Lead Aircraft Man SK Singh, Lead Aircraft Man Pankaj, Non-combatant Employee Putali and Non-combatant Employee Rajesh Kumar.