IAF aircraft’s wreckage with 13 bodies located (Second Lead)

June 10th, 2009 - 7:59 pm ICT by IANS  

Guwahati/New Delhi, June 10 (IANS) The bodies of all 13 defence personnel on board the AN-32 transport aircraft of the Indian Air Force (IAF) that had crashed in Arunachal Pradesh Tuesday were located Wednesday in the wreakage of the plane, officials said.
“The 13 bodies and the wreckage was been located on Wednesday afternoon from Tato, 70 km east of Mechuka From where the ill-fated plane had taken off,” a senior IAF official told IANS, requesting anonymity.

The official said the bodies, found close to hill in an accessible area, were taken to Mechuka and would be flown to the Shillong headquarters of the Eastern Air Command Thursday.

The cause of the crash will be confirmed only after the data in the black-box of the aircraft was analysed, the official said.

This is first crash of the AN-32 cargo aircraft in about a decade.

Three helicopters - two Cheetahs and an MI-17 - had been deployed for the search and rescue operations Tuesday and Wednesday but these were hampered by inclement weather.

The cargo plane with 13 defence personnel on board went missing Tuesday afternoon after it took off from Mechuka in the mountainous northeastern state of Arunachal Pradesh, bordering China’s Tibet region. The aircraft had disappeared from the radar screens soon after it took off.

The search mounted for the aircraft Tuesday had to be called off later due to fading light and was resumed only Wednesday morning.

The plane was returning from a routine air maintenance mission and went missing, apparently due to bad weather.

The AN-32 is the workhorse of the IAF transport fleet, travelling to far off bases to deliver much-needed supplies to soldiers.

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