GUWAHATI, June 11 - Wreckage of the AN-32 transport aircraft of Indian Air Force (IAF) was located this afternoon in West Siang district of Arunachal Pradesh, eight days after it went missing en route to Mechuka from Jorhat IAF station. “The wreckage of the aircraft was spotted today around 16 km north of Lipo, northeast of Tato at an approximate elevation of 12,000 ft by the IAF Mi-17 helicopter undertaking search in the expanded search zone,” the IAF said in a statement.
Efforts are now continuing to establish the status of occupants and establish survivors. Further details will be communicated as the recovery actions progress, it said.
A West Siang district official said the wreckage of the ill-fated AN-32 has been located through aerial search near Gatte in Payum circle.
“The aircraft appears to have turned left towards Mechuka from Gasheng village and lost its control near Gatte. The area has tough topography and terrain, and retrieving of dead bodies may take some time. The Indian Army and local Arunachal Scouts with the help and assistance of locals are ready to move towards the spot,” the official said.
The IAF has begun a close and final survey of the area. Mountaineering teams of IAF, Army and civil administration are being formed now. They will be deployed tomorrow by means of helicopters to look for survivors and other things, IAF sources said.
The AN-32 with 13 people on-board, including eight crew and five passengers, took off from Jorhat at 12:27 pm on June 3 for the Mechuka advanced landing ground in Arunachal Pradesh, and its last contact with the ground control was at 1 pm that day.