Itanagar: Despite relentless efforts by the rescue team to retrieve the mortal remains of the 13 air warriors who died in the IAF AN-32 crash on June 3 last in the mountains of Shi-Yomi district of Arunachal Pradesh, inclement weather and inhospitable terrain continue to provide challenges. The wreckage of the missing AN-32 was located by a Mi-17 helicopter on 11 June which went missing after takeoff from Jorhat in Assam, following which the team of 15 mountaineers was dropped near the crash site the very next day.
Later, three more mountaineers joined the rescue team .The mortal remains of air warriors, FDR and CVR were recovered at the site, Shillong based IAF spokesman Wing Commander Ratnakar Singh informed.
Helicopters, including Mi17s, Cheetah and ALH have been unable to approach the site during the last three days, because of inclement weather in the valleys and cloud cover over the crash site.
Retrieval operations require the steep mountain sides to be visible for the helicopters to safely hover close to the crash site and for operating crew to be able to see the personnel on the ground.
The IAF has actively coordinated with state administration at all levels. A ground team comprising Garud commandos of the IAF, SF of Indian Army, civilian porters and hunters is already on its way to the accident site on foot.
The first element of the trekking party is likely to reach the site on late Wednesday, the spokesman said.
No efforts are being spared by IAF personnel to ensure that the mortal remains of their brothers in arms are retrieved at the earliest. The Army and Arunachal Pradesh state administration have all along have provided unflinching support.
The trekking team has 19 members including four Garud commandos of IAF, 4 from Special forces of Army, 1 civilian hunter and 11 porters, the spokesman added.