From Dhrubajyoti Chakravorty
ITANAGAR June 11 (HS): After nine day of going missing, the wreckage of Indian Air Force AN-32 transport aircraft has at last been spotted in Arunachal Pradesh’s Siang district today.
The transport aircraft with 13 people on board went missing on 03 June after it took off from the Jorhat Airbase in Assam for Mechuka Advanced Landing Ground in the West Siang district of Arunachal Pradesh.
The wreckage has been found in Payum Circle of Siang district. It was spotted by a Mi-17 helicopter of the Indian Air Force, Defense sources said.
Sukhoi Su-30 fighter jets and C-130J transport planes had been pushed into search operations for the aircraft.
The wreckage of the aircraft was spotted today 16 Kms North of Lipo, North East of Tato at an approximate elevation of 12000 ft by the IAF Mi-17 Helicopter undertaking search operations in the expanded search zone.
Efforts are now continuing to establish the status of occupants and establish survivors, defense sources added.
The AN 32 aircraft which took off at 12.27 pm on 03 June from Jorhat airbase went off the radar at 1 pm. There were 13 IAF personnel on board in the AN 32 aircraft, which was going to Mechuka in Shi-yomi district of Arunachal Pradesh.
Bad weather during the last few days had stalled aerial search operations for the missing transport aircraft, while ground operations by Indian Army personnel and civil administration had continued in the mountainous area.
The IAF on Saturday announced a reward of Rs 5 lakh to anyone providing information about location of the AN-32 transport aircraft.
IAF’s C-130J transport aircraft, Sukhoi -30 fighter jets, Indian Navy’s P8-I search aircraft and a fleet of IAF and Army helicopters had been searching for the aircraft.
ISRO satellites and unmanned drones were also involved in the search operations for the missing AN 32 aircraft.
The Indian Air Force (IAF) had expanded the search area despite challenges posed by vegetation, inhospitable terrain and poor weather.