AN-32 crash: Bad weather hampers operation to retrieve bodies

Itanagar: A search operation to retrieve the mortal remains of six of the 13 people who were killed in the AN-32 crash on June 3 were hampered due to inclement weather in the area, the Indian Air Force (IAF) said on Saturday.

The first seven bodies were recovered on Thursday.

The IAF said that Cheetah and ALH helicopters have been put on stand-by to commence the operations once the weather improves.

“At present, there are low clouds associated with rain in the area. The IAF is making all efforts to retrieve the mortal remains of the deceased air-warriors. IAF personnel are in constant contact with the families of these air-warriors and are being updated regularly. They are also being explained about the challenges about the weather,” Wing Commander Puneet Chadha said in a statement.

On Friday, the search teams recovered the Cockpit Voice Recorder (CVR) and Flight Data Recorder (FDR) of the aircraft that crashed in Arunachal Pradesh.

A team of 16 mountaineers from the IAF and the Indian Army along with five civilian mountaineers are combing the site of crash 16 km north of Lipo, northeast of Tato under West Siang district, at an approximate elevation of 12,000 feet.

The AN-32 took off on June 3 from the Jorhat airbase for the Mechuka Advanced Landing Ground in Arunachal’s Shi-Yomi district bordering China, but lost contact with the ground agencies within 35 minutes.

After the disappearance of the aircraft, the IAF commenced extensive search operations under the direct supervision of the Eastern Air Command headquarters at Shillong.