Itanagar: Inclement weather on Saturday hampered rescue efforts to retrieve the mortal remains of 13 air-warriors who were on board the Indian Air Force aircraft that crashed in the mountains of Arunachal Pradesh, an IAF spokesman said.
Shillong-based IAF spokesman Ratnakar Singh said the rescue operation, which commenced early Saturday morning, could not progress further due to inclement weather at the crash site. Cheetah and ALH helicopters are on standby and are waiting to commence operations once the weather improves. At present there are low clouds accompanied with rain in the area, the spokesman said in a statement. The IAF is making all efforts to retrieve the remains of the deceased air-warriors.
IAF personnel are in constant touch with the families of these air-warriors and they are being updated regularly about the ongoing operations. They are also being explained the challenges being faced by the rescue team, he added. The rescue team on Friday recovered the cockpit voice recorder (CVR) and flight data recorder (FDR) of the Russian-origin AN-32 aircraft.
The aircraft was going from Jorhat in Assam to Mechuka advanced landing ground in Shi-Yomi district in Arunachal Pradesh, near the border with China, on June 3 when it lost contact around half-an-hour after taking off. The wreckage of the plane was spotted by an IAF chopper on Tuesday at a height of 12,000 ft near Gatte village on the border of Siang and Shi-Yomi districts, after eight days of a massive search operation involving a fleet of aircraft and choppers as well as ground forces. A 15-member team of rescuers was sent to look for survivors in the accident site on Wednesday and eight of them reached the place on Thursday morning.