The bodies of 13 Indian Air Force personnel who died in an An-32 aircraft crash last week in Arunachal Pradesh have been recovered on Thursday, a day after IAF helicopters spotted the wreckage. The black box of the transport plane has also been recovered.
The Air Force had confirmed on Thursday afternoon that there were no survivors from the crash. A 15-member rescue team, mountaineers and special forces recovered the bodies from the densely forested mountainside where the aircraft crashed.
“Helicopters would be used to ferry the bodies from the area,” officials said.
The 13 IAF personnel have been identified as Wing Commander GM Charles, Squadron Leader H Vinod, Flight Lieutenant R Thapa, Flight Lieutenant A Tanwar, Flight Lieutenant S Mohanty, Flight Lieutenant MK Garg, Warrant Officer KK Mishra, Sergeant Anoop Kumar S, Corporal Sharin NK, Leading aircraftman SK Singh, Leading aircraftman Pankaj, Non-combatant Employee Putali and Non-combatant Employee Rajesh Kumar.
For a week, relatives of the 13 personnel were positioned at a Jorhat base camp in Assam as they waited for news.
The black box of the aircraft, which includes the cockpit voice recorder and the flight data recorder, has been retrieved. An analysis of the black box data will allow the Air Force to establish the cause behind the crash.
The plane, a Soviet-designed twin engine turboprop transport aircraft, had gone missing around 1 pm on June 3 while flying from Assam’s Jorhat to Mechuka, a military landing strip in Arunachal Pradesh. It was meant to be a 50-minute journey.
The wreckage was found on Tuesday in the mountains at a height of around 12,000 feet. It was apparent that the An-32 had crashed into a mountain amid bad weather and poor visibility because of clouds.