Aalo: The 15-member rescue team which was airdropped near the wreckage site of the ill-fated Indian Air Force’s (IAF) AN-32 aircraft in Siang district in Arunachal Pradesh on June 12 was finally evacuated after 18 long days, on Saturday.
The rescue team comprising eight IAF, four Army personnel and three civilians were evacuated by an IAF team led by Air Marshall Sandeep Singh, SASO Eastern Command, and all seemed to be in good health and mood, said reports. The team landed at Aalo helipad around 5 pm, an official press release said.
The recovery team led by Wing Commander Namit Rawat had been spending the last 18 days at an altitude of 12,000 ft even after the strenuous exercise of recovering the 13 bodies and the black box of the transport aircraft was complete. They had been braving hostile weather and feeding on ration that had been airdropped for them on that particular day.
Weather conditions, which had remained unfavourable till Friday, got better on Saturday, following which the evacuation process took place.
The evacuated team was received at the Aalo helipad by Aalo Brigade Commanding Officer, Brig Dayalan and state’s energy development agency deputy director Somar Potom who had been coordinating the operation from the civilian side from the beginning, the release added.
The Russian AN-32 aircraft had gone missing 33 minutes after taking off from Assam’s Jorhat on June 3. It was headed to Mechuka in Shi-Yomi district of Arunachal Pradesh.
Following this a massive search and rescue operation was launched for the aircraft and its 13- on-board passengers. It was only after eight days of extensive the air craft’s wreckage was found and the process of retrieving the bodies had started.
While six bodies were retrieved on June 19, the remaining seven were retrieved the next day.