Inclement weather, terrain stall search ops

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15-member rescuer team reaches close to AN-32 crash site

HT Bureau

GUWAHATI, June 12: After having located the crash site of the Indian Air Force’s (IAF) missing AN-32 aircraft, a 15-member rescuer team comprising personnel from IAF, army, civil mountaineers have been airlifted to a location near by the crash site.

The rescuer team have been inducted by Mi-17s and Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH) with all equipments to a location close to the crash site.

The team has been comprised with nine IAF mountaineers, four from army and two civil mountaineers.

Shillong-based Defence PRO Wing Commander Ratnakar Singh said that, the team was yet to reach the crash site due to inclement weather and terrain.

“The team will camping overnight due to difficult terrain and weather and will close in to the crash site tomorrow,” the Defence PRO said.

A day after wreckage of the missing AN-32 was spotted in the hills remote area in Arunachal Pradesh, IAF has started its rescue operations on Wednesday morning.

According to the IAF, Mi17s and Advanced Light Helicopters (ALH) from Indian army are being utilised in the rescue operations.

Ground forces have been continuing their attempts to reach the crash site. The wreckage of the missing AN-32 was spotted in the dense forest area about16 km north of Lipo and about 12-15 km west of Gatte under Payum region of Arunachal Pradesh’s Shi Yomi district.

The IAF, meanwhile, said efforts are on to establish the status of occupants amid fears that chances of any survivor in the one of worst accidents involving a military platform in recent years may be very bleak.

The IAF spokesperson said Air marshal RD Mathur, Air officer-commanding-in-chief Eastern Air Command complimented the search team for their relentless effort spanning eight days.

Mathur also thanked Arunachal Chief Minister Pema Khandu and Chief Secretary Satya Gopal for extending unflinching support to the IAF towards locating the missing An-32.

“The proud and highly patriotic people of the state have worked tirelessly to help the IAF for a national cause,” said the spokesperson.

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