Itanagar, June 13 (IANS) Thirteen mountaineers from the Indian Air Force (IAF) and the Indian Army along with two civilian mountaineers on Wednesday arrived near the wreckage site to establish the status of the 13 occupants of the IAF AN-32 aircraft which crashed in Arunachal Pradesh on June 3, an official said.
“They have reached the wreckage site but trekking deep down and lifting the bodies and the survivors, if any, would take time,” Gijum Tali, a state government official, told IANS.
“The mountaineers were air dropped on a suitable location near the wreckage site braving fluctuating weather conditions to do the ground works with specific instructions,” he said.
“Our next effort is to get to the wreckage site to establish the status of the occupants and search for the black box and CVR of the ill-fated aircraft with tail number K-2752,” IAF spokesperson Wing Commander Ratnakar Singh told IANS.
The mountaineers include nine from the IAF, four from the Army and two civilians.
Senior Air Staff Officer (SASO) of Eastern Air Command, Air Marshal Sandeep Singh, who is overseeing the search and rescue operation, briefed the mountaineers before they were air dropped to the wreckage site.
On Tuesday, the IAF had spotted the wreckage of the missing AN-32 aircraft 16 km north of Lipo, northeast of Tato, at an approximate elevation of 12,000 feet with the help of an IAF Mi-17 helicopter undertaking search in the expanded area.
The transport aircraft took off on June 3 from the Jorhat airbase in Assam for the Mechuka Advanced Landing Ground in Arunachal Pradesh’s Shi-Yomi district bordering China.
On June 8, the IAF announced a reward of Rs 5 lakh for any information leading to the location of the missing aircraft.