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IAF AN-32 wreckage found; 13 dead
Correspondent SHILLONG, JUN 10:
Published on 11 Jun. 2009 12:59 AM IST
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All 13 men aboard the Indian Air Force (IAF) Antonov-32 aircraft are confirmed dead after the wreckage of the ill-fated plane was found today at village along India’s disputed borders with China. Initially, the wreckage of the aircraft was first spotted by the villagers in the afternoon at the north west of Tato bordering China and later they informed the nearest police station. “The wreckage was located by the Army at around 1630 hours and there were no survivors from the crash,” IAF spokesman, Ranjib Sahoo said. There were seven personnel from the IAF and six from the Army onboard the aircraft. Commanded by Wing Commander GS Butalia the aircraft took off from Mechuka Advanced Landing Ground in Arunachal Pradesh’s West Siang district at 2 p.m Tuesday before it went missing. The aircraft, he said, was on a routine maintenance sortie and had gone to supply essential commodities to some of the remote villages and soldiers located along the Indo-China border. “Immediately, we cannot ascertain the cause of the air-crashed as search operation team is on to find out the black box of the ill-fated aircraft to recover vital information regarding the cause of the crash,” Sahoo said. The IAF would also conduct an inquiry to probe into the cause of the crash. Earlier, in the day, the no progress could be made to trace the missing AN-32 aircraft as the rescue operations had to be abandoned due to the bad weather conditions. The AN-32 is a Russian-made transport aircraft acquired for the IAF in the 80s and is widely considered a ‘safe’ aircraft. The last crash involving an AN-32 was at Delhi in 1999. India has close to 100 AN-32 aircraft. Eight have been lost in accidents since induction in 1984. The last crash in which casualties took place was in March 1999 when an AN-32 crashed near Delhi, killing 22 people. The last time an AN-32 crashed without any casualty was also in Arunachal Pradesh — at the Vijayanagar ALG in March 2000. Meanwhile, the Air Officer Commanding in Chief EAC Air Marshal SK Bhan has rushed to Jorhat this morning.

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