Itanagar: A day after the wreckage of the missing AN-32 aircraft was spotted 16 km north of Lipo and northeast of Tato, at an approximate elevation of 12,000 ft by an Mi-17 search helicopter, the ‘induction’ process of 15 mountaineers was completed on Wednesday, said defence sources.
The 15 mountaineers were inducted by Mi-17 helicopters and ALH with all equipment near the crash site. These include nine from IAF mountaineering team, four from the Army and two civilian mountaineers.
However, the team is yet to reach the crash site due to inclement weather and terrain. As such, the team will camping overnight and close in to the spot on Thursday, the sources added.
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.