The wreckage of the aircraft was located at an area, 16 km north of Lipo, north-east of Tato in Arunachal Pradesh.
The IAF, which has confirmed the death of all the 13 air-warriors on board including 8 crew members, has paid tribute to the brave air-warriors, who lost their lives in the air mishap.
“IAF is making all efforts to recover the mortal remains. No effort is being spared in ensuring expeditious transfer of the mortal remains of the air-warriors to their parent base at Jorhat,” stated a PIB (Defence wing) release.
Stating that on June 13, 2019, eight members of the rescue team reached the crash site in search of the survivors, the release stated: “Unfortunately no air-warrior survived the crash.”
The air-warriors who lost their lives in the crash are Wing Commander GM Charles, Squadron Leader H Vinod, Flight Lieutenant MK Garg, Flight Lieutenant S Mohanty, Flight Lieutenant A Tanwar, Flight Lieutenant R Thapa, Warrant Officer KK Mishra, Sergeant Anoop Kumar, Corporal Sherin, Leading Aircraftman SK Singh, Leading Aircraftman Pankaj, NC(E) Putali and NC(E) Rajesh Kumar.
On June 3, 2019, the ill-fated IAF AN-32 carrier aircraft with 13 people (eight aircrew and five passengers) on board took off from the Air Force Station at Jorhat in Assam at 12:27 pm for Mechuka Advanced Landing Ground in Arunachal Pradesh.
The last contact with the aircraft was made at 12:55 pm.
Once the aircraft did not report at the destination, overdue actions were initiated.
In coordination with Indian Army, various government and civil agencies, IAF commenced extensive search operations under the direct supervision of Headquarters, Eastern Air Command.
C-130J, AN-32, Mi-17 helicopters of IAF and ALH helicopters of Indian Army were launched immediately to locate the missing aircraft. Indian Navy P-8i aircraft joined the search operations on June 4, 2019, it said.
Resources from various agencies, including ISRO were brought into the operation to enhance its effectiveness.
“CARTOSAT and RISAT satellites of ISRO also took images of the area, which assisted the search team in locating the aircraft. Thick vegetation, in hospitable terrain and inclement weather adversely affected the aerial search operation in the vast search zone. Despite the challenges posed by poor weather and terrain, IAF remained committed to the continued air and ground efforts throughout day and night to locate the missing aircraft and its brave air-warriors,” the release stated.
Extensive support towards rescue operation was provided by Indian Army, Indian Navy, state government, state police and locals.
On June 11, 2019, the wreckage of the aircraft was spotted at an area, 16 km north of Lipo, north-east of Tato in Arunachal Pradesh at an approximate elevation of 12000 ft by an IAF Mi-17 helicopter.
Subsequently, aerial operations were also launched to the designated crash site.
However, due to steep slope and thick forest the helicopter could not land near the crash site.
“Two km from the designated crash site, an area was designated and a camp was established for helicopters to land with the recovery parties,” it said.
On June 12, 2019, a team of nine IAF personnel (including mountaineers), four Army Special Forces personnel and two local mountaineers were dropped at the campsite.
On June 13, 2019, eight members of the rescue team reached the crash site in search of the survivors, but no air-warrior survived the crash, the release further stated.