The operation to retrieve the mortal remains of the 13 personnel onboard the An-32 aircraft continues to face difficulty due to inclement weather, the IAF said on Saturday.
“The rescue operations are being curtailed due to incessant rains and heavy clouding. No helicopter could fly today due to bad weather,” IAF PRO Wing Commander Ratnakar Singh said in a statement. He added that a 17 member rescue team comprising of IAF and Army personnel and civilian mountaineers were on the job.
He continued saying that “helicopter operations require great skill and caution, under such conditions, especially hovering at high altitudes and very close to the steep mountain slopes. Bad weather is hampering hovering by helicopters to do winching operations which are mandatory for all the rescue operations and recovery of mortal remains. All efforts are being made to help-lift the mortal remains of the IAF personnel at the earliest to their parent base Jorhat. Rescue teams are standing by and operations will resume as soon as the weather improves.”
The AN-32, which took off from the Air Force Station in Assam’s Jorhat on June 3 at 12.27 pm, never landed at the Mechuka Advanced Landing Ground in Shi Yomi district. The aircraft’s last contact with ground staff was at 12.55pm. The Cockpit Voice Recorder ( CVR) and Flight Data Recorder (FDR) of the flight were recovered from the crash site on Friday.
On Tuesday, the IAF had said that the wreckage was spotted 16 Kms North of Lipo, North East of Tato at an approximate elevation of 12000 ft by the IAF Mi-17 Helicopter.
Since the aircraft went missing, personnel and resources from various agencies — including the Army, the ITBP, the Indian Navy, the ISRO, and state police and district administration — came together to search for it.