Itanagar: Over a week after an AN-32 went missing from Arunachal Pradesh on June 3, the wreckage of the ill-fated aircraft was reportedly spotted near Gatte village in the Payum circle of the state’s Siang district on Tuesday.
Confirming this, Siang deputy commissioner (DC) Rajiv Takuk said that the wreckage has been spotted. “However, the same is yet to be verified on ground. A team has been sent to verify the same,” he said.
Takuk added that there is every possibility that the wreckage could be that of the missing IAF aircraft. The site where the wreckage was spotted is said to be on the left bank of Siyom river near Gatte village under Payum circle of Siang district
Meanwhile, the Indian Air Force tweeted that the wreckage has indeed been spotted 16 km north of Lipo, northeast of Tato, at an approximate elevation of 12,000 ft by an Mi-17 helicopter undertaking search in the region.
The aircraft had gone missing on June 3 with 13 people, including eight crew members and five passengers, on board. The Antonov AN-32 was headed to the Mechuka Advanced Landing Ground, located in Mechuka Valley in Arunachal Pradesh, after taking off from Jorhat, Assam.
The aircraft took off at 12:25 pm and lost contact with the ground stations around 1 pm. Previously, many attempts of search and rescue operations were made by Indian Army, India Air Force and Navy along with local administration, but to no avail.
Due to heavy rains in Arunachal Pradesh, the search operations were getting hampered. The IAF had launched a massive search and rescue mission using two Mi-17 helicopters, a C-130 Hercules special operations aircraft and Indian Army’s Advanced Light Helicopters (ALH) `Dhruv’ to locate the missing aircraft.
Satellites like RISAT and aircraft equipped with multiple sensors had also joined the concerted efforts to locate the missing aircraft.
Meanwhile, the IAF said that efforts are now continuing to establish the status of occupants and survivors. “Further details will be communicated as the recovery actions progress,” it tweeted.