Crashed IAF AN-32 aircraft wreckage found; bodies recovered

via published on June 10, 2009

ITANAGAR: After a 24-hour search, security personnel yesterday found the wreckage of an IAF An-32 transport aircraft that crashed near a village in West Siang district of Arunachal Pradesh and recovered the charred bodies of all the 13 defence personnel including a Keralite killed in the mishap. The Keralite is identified as Shaji (40), Wing Commander, of Kozhikode.

The aircraft had crashed over the Rinchi Hill above Heyo village, about 30 km from Mechuka advance landing ground in the district located about 60 km from the Indo-Chinese Line of Actual Control, State police and IAF officials said here.

Among the seven IAF men and six Army personnel on board the ill-fated aircraft were two wing commanders, two squadron leaders and a flight lieutenant. “The IAF search team reached the air crash site and has recovered the bodies of the personnel, who were on board the aircraft,” an IAF spokesperson said in New Delhi.

The aircraft, belonging to a squadron in Jorhat in Assam, was on a routine sortie for air maintenance of troops and had landed in Mechuka Tuesday morning. It was on its flight to Mohanbari airbase in Assam and had taken off from Mechuka around 1400 hours and soon went missing from the radar, the spokesperson said.

The police quoted some local residents as saying they heard a loud noise and saw thick smoke billowing from the distant hills. Body parts of crew-members were found strewn around the wreckage of the mangled aircraft, Additional Superintendent of Police H Lanin told PTI over telephone from Aalo, headquarters of the West Siang district.

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