IAF’s missing AN-32 located! Search on foot to start for locating survivors and wreckage

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New Delhi | Updated: June 12, 2019 4:31:06 PM

On Tuesday, the wreckage of the missing An-32 aircraft was spotted by the crew onboard an IAF Mi-17 helicopter in the Pari Adi hills, which is between Shi Yomi and Siang districts.

an 32 aircraft iafThe AN-32 which had taken off from Jorhat, Assam on June 3, had reportedly lost control at Payum

A day after, the crash site of the AN-32 transport aircraft of the Indian Air Force (IAF) was located, a team of personnel from IAF, Indian Army and civil mountaineers have been airlifted to a location close to the crash site. They were airlifted in the Mi-17 helicopter and Advanced Light Helicopters (ALH).

According to officials, elaborate plans have been drawn by the IAF to send in these teams on foot to trek to the wreckage site to look for survivors and other things. The area has dense foliage and rough topography. The trek deep inside will take time to reach the survivors.

So far 15 mountaineers have been inducted by Mi-17s and ALH , with all equipments, nine are from IAF mountaineering team, four from the Indian Army and two civilian mountaineers. “Some of them have reached the crash site and some are still tracking, ” said the IAF.

On Tuesday, the wreckage of the missing An-32 aircraft was spotted by the crew onboard an IAF Mi-17 helicopter in the Pari Adi hills, which is between Shi Yomi and Siang districts. The wreckage site is around 13 km from Gate village in Siang district, and 16 km north of Lipo in Shi Yomi district, at an elevation of 12,000 feet. The AN-32 which had taken off from Jorhat, Assam on June 3, had reportedly lost control at Payum, and apparently turned left towards Mechuka from Gasheng village and lost its control near Gate. There were 13 persons on board including six officers and seven airmen.

The rescue teams are going on foot for deeper searches and are likely to face more hurdles as the Molo-Kaying road which will take it to the location was completely washed away recently due to heavy rains. While various ground teams of local hunters have returned, the five hunters who had been dispatched by the Siang administration is yet to report back to the local administration.

In this search, all three services, Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) had joined hands in the SAR and put their assets in the mission. From Sukhoi-30 aircraft, a fleet of C-130J and AN-32 aircraft and Mi-17 from IAF, Advanced Light Helicopters (ALH) of the Indian Army, and the IAF, Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) of the Indian Army were the eyes in the sky looking down the dense foliage in the region.

ISRO’s RISAT and CARTOSAT satellites, Indian Navy’s P-8I with powerful Synthetic Aperture Radar and Electro-Optical and Infra-Red (EO & IR) sensors were also part of the search, with support from the ground support from Indian Army, Indo Tibetan Border Police and state police.

IAF had also gone to the extent of announcing a reward of Rs 5 lakh to anyone in the hope of getting information about the plane wreckage.

Earlier today, Air Marshal RD Mathur, Air Officer Commanding in chief, Eastern Air Command complimented the search team for their relentless effort over the past eight days in the Search and Rescue (SAR) Operations. The top IAF officer also thanked the state administration which, under the personal supervision of Chief Minister Pema Khandu, and Satya Gopal, Chief Secretary, Arunachal Pradesh, who had extended support to the IAF towards locating the missing An-32.

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