13 Bodies, IAF Aircraft's Wreakage Located


Guwahati/New Delhi, Jun 11: Indian Army and paramilitary rescue teams Wednesday recovered the wreckage of an Indian Air Force (IAF) cargo plane that went missing Tuesday and the mangled remains of 13 defence officials killed in the crash in the northeast region, officials said.

A defence spokesperson said a search team of the army and the paramilitary spotted the wreckage of the AN-32 aircraft near Tato village in West Siang district of Arunachal Pradesh, bordering China's Tibet region.

"The search team managed to get hold of the mangled remains of the 13 people on board the aircraft that crashed Tuesday evening," IAF spokesperson Wing Commander R. Sahu told IANS by telephone.

The cargo plane with 13 people on board went missing Tuesday afternoon after it took from Mechuka in Arunachal Pradesh.

The site from where the wreckage was found is about 70 km from Mechuka and is located in hilly terrain.

"It would be too early to conclusively say whether the aircraft hit the hill or plunged down due to technical problems that led to the crash. Experts would try and retrieve the black box to know the details," the IAF official said.

Of the 13 people killed, seven were from the IAF and six army soldiers.

"There were two wing commanders and a squadron leader among the IAF personnel on board," Sahu said. The mangled remains of those killed were being brought to the nearest motor head.

"The area where the wreckage was found is located in a highly inhospitable terrain and it might require days for the search team to reach the nearest motor head from where we can airlift the mortal remains to our base," the IAF official said.

The AN-32 aircraft was on its way back to its base in Jorhat in eastern Assam from Mechuka, a military forward position located in Arunachal Pradesh's West Siang district, after delivering essentials and other supplies to the soldiers.

The AN 32 is the workhorse of the transport fleet traveling to far off bases to deliver much-needed supplies to the army soldiers.

This is first crash of the AN-32 cargo aircraft in about a decade.


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Comment on this article

  • Raymond D''Souza, Mangalore/Bangalore

    Thu, Jun 11 2009

    It is a very tragic incident. May their soul rest in peace. May God give strength to their family members and dear ones to bear this loss. I think Wing Commander Shaji is the same AC Shaji who joined Air Force with me in Aug 1977 as an Technician and later got Commissioned. I had met him at Gwalior in 1988 when he was a Flying Officer and posted in AVRO Aircraft.

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