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Last Updated : Jun 13, 2019 01:14 PM IST | Source:

IAF confirms no survivors in AN-32 crash

On June 3, the aircraft had gone missing hours after it took off from Jorhat, Assam for Menchuka Advance Landing Ground in Arunachal Pradesh

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File image: Indian Air Force
File image: Indian Air Force

The Indian Air Force (IAF) on June 13 confirmed that none of the 13 people, believed to be on board the Antonov AN-32, have survived the crash.

As many as eight crew and five passengers were believed to be on board the aircraft. News agency ANI has reported that the families of the 13 personnel have already been informed.

In a tweet, IAF said: “Eight members of the rescue team reached the crash site today morning. IAF is sad to inform that there are no survivors from the crash of An32.”

IAF also released names of the personnel who lost their lives: W/C GM Charles, S/L H Vinod, F/L R Thapa, F/L A Tanwar, F/L S Mohanty, F/L MK Garg, WO KK Mishra, Sgt Anoop Kumar, Cpl Sherin, LAC SK Singh, LAC Pankaj, NC(E) Putali and NC(E) Rajesh Kumar.

“IAF pays tribute to the brave air-warriors who lost their life during the AN-32 crash on June 03 2019 and stands by with the families of the victims. May their soul rest in peace,” the Air Force said in another tweet.

The IAF on June 11, eight days after the aircraft went missing, had announced that it had found parts of the its wreckage around 16 kilometres north of Lipo in Arunachal Pradesh.

Search and rescue operations had been hampered due to the difficult terrain and inclement weather. A 15-member team of rescuers was airlifted close to the crash site on June 12 to look for possible survivors.

The nine personnel from IAF's mountaineering team, four from the Army and two civilian mountaineers were dispatched a day after the wreckage of the aircraft was located by an IAF Mi-17 helicopter at a height of 12,000 feet near Gatte village on the border of Siang and Shi-Yomi districts in Arunachal Pradesh following an eight-day-long, multi-agency search.

The area is thickly forested and has been receiving heavy rains since the last three days.

On June 3, the aircraft had gone missing hours after it took off from Jorhat, Assam for Menchuka Advance Landing Ground (ALG) in Arunachal Pradesh.

The IAF had confirmed in a tweet that the aircraft was airborne on June 3 at 12.25 pm. The aircraft was last in contact with the ground agencies at 1.00 pm. Since the aircraft did not reach the designated destination, overdue action was initiated by IAF.

The Antonov AN-32 is a twin-engine turboprop military transport aircraft. The IAF was the launch customer for this aircraft manufactured Antonov. Antonov was a Soviet, and later a Ukrainian, aircraft manufacturing company.

The IAF fleet comprises over 100 AN-32s which are currently undergoing modernisation, according to reports.

IAF has recorded at least four crashes or disappearances of AN-32s before.

In 1986, an IAF AN-32 disappeared over the Arabian Sea on a delivery flight from the Soviet Union via Muscat, Oman. No trace was found of the aircraft or the people on board.

Four years later, another AN-32 aircraft crashed in the Ponmudi mountain range on its way to Thiruvananthapuram from Tambaram Air Force Station near Chennai.

In 2009, an AN-32 aircraft crashed shortly after taking off from the Mechuka ALG. All 13 people on board were killed.

Following this crash, India inked a $400-million deal with Ukraine for the upgradation of the AN-32 fleet.

In 2016, an AN-32 flying from Tambaram Air Force Station to Port Blair in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands went missing above the Bay of Bengal. It had 29 people on board.

The subsequent search and rescue operation was India's largest for a missing aircraft on the sea. The operation was called off later with all 29 being presumed dead.

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First Published on Jun 13, 2019 01:11 pm
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