A 15-member team of rescuers airlifted close to the site of the crash of an AN-32 transport aircraft failed to reach the area due to difficult terrain and inclement weather, PTI reported late on Wednesday. Earlier in the day, reports had said that some rescuers had managed to reach the site.

Nine of the 15 climbers in the team are from the Air Force mountaineering team, four are from the Army and two are civilians.

On Tuesday, an IAF team had found wreckage of the missing aircraft 16 kilometres north of Lipo area, northeast of Tato in Arunachal Pradesh at an approximate elevation of 12,000 feet. 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.

“They are yet to reach the crash site due to inclement weather and terrain,” a spokesperson for the Indian Air Force said on Wednesday. “Team will be camping overnight due to difficult terrain and weather, and will close in to the crash site tomorrow.”

Shi-Yomi District Deputy Commissioner Mito Dirchi told PTI that there are reports of rain and haze all over the mountainous zones of Siang district, making the rescue operation a “herculean task”.

Air officer-commanding-in-chief Eastern Air Command RD Mathur praised the rescue team for its effort, as well as the people of Arunachal Pradesh. “The proud and highly patriotic people of the state have worked tirelessly to help the IAF for a national cause,” he said. Mathur also thanked Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Pema Khandu and Chief Secretary Satya Gopa for extending full support to the IAF.