Siang district administration sends team to spot for verification
NEW DELH/ITANAGAR, June 11: The wreckage of the AN-32 aircraft of the Indian Air Force was spotted on Tuesday 16 km north of Lipo in Arunachal Pradesh, eight days after it went missing after taking off from Assam’s Jorhat.
The aircraft had 13 people on board and the IAF said efforts are on to establish the status of the occupants.
“The wreckage of the aircraft was spotted today 16 kms north of Lipo, north east of Tato at an approximate elevation of 12,000 ft by the IAF Mi-17 helicopter undertaking search in the expanded search zone,” the IAF said in a statement.
“Efforts are now continuing to establish the status of occupants and establish survivors. Further details will be communicated as the recovery actions progress,” it said.
The wreckage of the ill-fated aircraft was reportedly spotted near Gatte village in the Payum circle of Arunachal’s Siang district.
Confirming this, Siang deputy commissioner Rajiv Takuk said that the wreckage has been spotted. “However, the same is yet to be verified on ground. A team has been sent to verify the same,” he said.
Takuk added that there is every possibility that the wreckage could be that of the missing IAF aircraft. The site where the wreckage was spotted is said to be on the left bank of Siyom river near Gatte village under Payum circle of Siang district.
The Russian-origin AN-32 aircraft lost contact on the afternoon of June 3 after taking off from Jorhat for Menchuka advanced landing ground near the border with China. A total of eight aircrew and five passengers were on board the aircraft.
The AN-32 is a twin-engine turboprop transport aircraft and the IAF currently operates a sizeable number of it.
Due to heavy rains in Arunachal Pradesh, the search operations were getting hampered. The IAF had launched a massive search and rescue mission using two Mi-17 helicopters, a C-130 Hercules special operations aircraft and Indian Army’s Advanced Light Helicopters (ALH) `Dhruv’ to locate the missing aircraft.
Satellites like RISAT and aircraft equipped with multiple sensors had also joined the concerted efforts to locate the missing aircraft.