An-32 crash: No survivors among 13 on board aircraft, says IAF

Mountaineering team prior to induction at the AN-32 accident site in Arunachal Pradesh. (File)

The Indian Air Force (IAF) on Thursday said that there were no survivors among the 13 people on board the An-32 aircraft which crashed last week. The announcement comes two days after the wreckage of the missing aircraft was found in Arunachal Pradesh.

Condoling the deaths, Congress President Rahul Gandhi paid his tributes to the 13 killed in the aircraft crash calling them "13 brave men in uniform."

Expressing grief over the loss of lives, Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Pema Khandu tweeted, "Deeply saddened by the tragic loss of lives of our Air Warriors. My tributes and homage to our brave Air Warriors who attained martyrdom. My deep condolences to their families and pray to God to give them enough strength in this time of grief to bear the irreparable loss."

The An-32, which took off from Assam s Jorhat base around 12.30 pm on June 3, never reached the Mechuka Advanced Landing Ground in Shi Yomi district. The aircraft s last contact with ground staff was at 1 pm.

On June 11, more than a week later, the wreckage of the aircraft was found and the IAF, Army and civil administration visited the site to look for survivors and other things .

IAF spokesperson Wing Commander Ratnakar Singh had earlier said, The wreckage of the aircraft was spotted 16 km north of Lipo, north-east of Tato at an approximate elevation of 12,000 ft by the IAF Mi-17 helicopter undertaking search in the expanded search zone. Efforts are now continuing to establish the status of occupants and establish survivors. Further details will be communicated as the recovery actions progress.

Ever since the aircraft went missing, personnel and resources from various agencies, including the Army, ITBP, Indian Navy, ISRO, state police and district administration, have been looking for it. C-130J aircraft, Su-30MKI aircraft, P8i long-range reconnaissance aircraft of the Indian Navy, Advanced Light Helicopters, MI-17 and Cheetah helicopters were deployed and satellite photography was also done.

Local communities, including hunters and experts in mountain climbing, have been accompanying troopers in the search operations.