AN 32 crash: IAF recovers bodies of 13 air warriors from Arunachal Pradesh accident site
The airplane took off from an air base in Assam's Jorhat and later went off the radar. After crashed in a remote location in Arunachal Pradesh earlier this month.
Over the past week, Air Force was making efforts to retrieve the bodies from the crash site but inclement weather was making it difficult to carry out air operations. Efforts are now being made to reach the bodies and remains of the IAF personnel to their respective families. The mortal remains and other material evidence have to be picked up by helicopters and brought back to Jorhat in stages, the IAF had said earlier.
The rescue operations that were being carried out by Garud commandos, civilian porters and hunters were suspended for days due to harsh weather conditions in the area. Shillong-based IAF spokesperson Wing Commander Ratnakar Singh said earlier said that the first segment of this trekking party which left on Monday is likely to reach the accident site on Tuesday.
"Due to bad weather and clouds we could not undertake the retrieval operation today as well. Our helicopters were on the lookout for a window to fly but could not. But we are leaving no stone unturned in our attempts to retrieve the bodies," he had said.
Helicopters, including Mi-17s, Cheetah and ALH have been unable to approach the site since past few days because of inclement weather in the valleys and cloud cover over the crash site. "Retrieval operations require the steep mountain sides to be visible for the helicopters to safely hover close to the crash site and for operating crew to be able to see the personnel on the ground," Singh said.
The wreckage of the missing AN-32 was located by a Mi-17 helicopter on June 11, following which a team of 15 mountaineers was dropped near the crash site the next day. The Indian Air Force Thursday said all the 13 people on board the aircraft had died.
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