The Indian Air Force on Saturday said efforts to retrieve the bodies of the 13 personnel, who were killed in the AN-32 plane crash last week, has been delayed to due to inclement weather. The air force on Friday had recovered the cockpit voice recorder and flight data recorder.
Earlier this week, the air force had found the wreckage of AN-32 plane in a remote area in Arunachal Pradesh over a week after the aircraft went missing with 13 people on board.
“Cheetah & ALH [Advanced Light Helicopters] are on standby and are waiting to commence operations once the weather improves,” the Indian Air Force tweeted. “At present there are low clouds associated with rain in the area. IAF is making all efforts to retrieve the mortal remains of the deceased air-warriors.”
The air force further added that the personnel are constantly in touch with the families of the soldiers and that they are being updated about the rescue operations.
Air force Chief BS Dhanoa said they will establish the cause of the crash and ensure that such accidents do not happen again. “In Arunachal Pradesh, the terrain is very treacherous and most of the time, it is cloudy,” PTI quoted him as saying. “When you are flying in that terrain, in that cloudy weather, there have been many, not only Air Force, even otherwise, Pawan Hans and all, accidents, because of controlled flight into terrain.”
On Friday, the Indian Air Force said in a statement that the remains of the personnel have to be picked up by helicopters and brought back to Jorhat in stages. “The weather continues to be marginal and is likely to affect the pace of recovery operations,” it said. “The recovery team is braving the treacherous terrain and inclement weather in order to bring back the mortal remains as soon as possible.”
The air force said that it has “flown around 200 sorties towards the AN-32 search and recovery operations” and that no efforts are being spared in recovering the remains of the deceased for which eight helicopters have been deployed.
On June 7, the aircraft went missing 33 minutes after taking off from Jorhat in Assam. It was travelling to Mechuka in Arunachal Pradesh, near the China border. An air force team found the wreckage of the missing aircraft on June 11 at a height of 12,000 feet in the Payum region of Arunachal Pradesh’s Shi Yomi district.
The Indian Air Force on Thursday said an eight-member team of rescuers did not find any survivors at the site in Arunachal Pradesh.