An Mi-17 helicopter search team on Tuesday found the wreckage of the missing AN-32 transport aircraft of the Indian Air Force. The wreckage was located 16 kilometres north of Lipo area, northeast of Tato in Arunachal Pradesh at an approximate elevation of 12,000 feet, the Air Force said in a tweet.
The Air Force said its Cheetah helicopter and the Army’s advanced light helicopter had failed to land next to the crash site because of high elevation and dense forest. “However, nearest landing site has been identified and the rescue operation by helicopters will commence tomorrow early morning,” the Air Force added. “Ground forces will continue to reach the crash site during the night.”
On June 3, the transporter aircraft, with 13 people on board, went missing 33 minutes after taking off from Jorhat. It was heading to Menchuka in Arunachal Pradesh, near the China border.
The Air Force, Navy, Army, local police, state government, paramilitary forces and the local residents were involved in the search operation. The Indian Air Force deployed helicopters, transport aircraft, Unmanned Aerial Vehicles and other sensors, along with Navy’s P8I aircraft. Electronic, radar, optical and infrared sensors, including satellites, were also used to scan the area. On Sunday, seven mountaineers, including two who have scaled Mount Everest, joined the search.
The Air Force had announced a cash reward of Rs 5 lakh for information on the missing plane.