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Dense forest, high mountains hinder search for missing AN-32

In another tweet, the IAF said that the search team has identified the nearest landing site and the rescue operation by helicopters will commence on Wednesday morning.

Dense forest, high mountains hinder search for missing AN-32
File photo used for representational purpose only

The Indian Air Force (IAF) on Tuesday said that after identification of the wreckage of AN-32 aircraft by Mi-17V5 helicopter, the Cheetah of IAF and Advanced Light Helicopter of Indian Army managed to reach the crash site but the choppers failed to land next to crash site due to dense forest and high elevation. The IAF posted the tweet shortly after the wreckage of the IAF's AN-32 which went missing with 13 people on board eight days ago was found north of Lipo in Arunachal Pradesh on Tuesday.

"After identification of the wreckage of #An32 by Mi-17V5, the Cheetah of #IAF & #ALH of #IndianArmy reached the crash site. Due to high elevation & dense forest, helicopters could not land next to the crash site," IAF said.

In another tweet, the IAF said that the search team has identified the nearest landing site and the rescue operation by helicopters will commence on Wednesday morning. Meanwhile, mountaineering teams of IAF, Army and Civil are being formed and they will be inducted on Wednesday by means of helicopters to look for survivors and other things.

Here is the list of IAF personnel on board the missing AN-32 aircraft

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The assets deployed for the search operation included Sukhoi-30 aircraft in addition to a fleet of C-130J and AN-32 planes and Mi-17 and ALH helicopters while the ground forces included troops from the Army, Indo Tibetan Border Police and state police. A reward of Rs 5 lakh was also announced by the IAF for providing credible information about the location of the missing aircraft. 

Last Saturday, the Indian Air Force Chief, Air Marshal BS Dhanoa had reviewed the overall search and rescue operations (SAR)  at a high-level meeting in Assam's Jorhat airbase. He also interacted with families of the officers and airmen who were on board the aircraft.

The AN-32 with 13 people on board – eight officers and five passengers took off from the Jorhat air base around 12:25pm on June 3, 2019 and was headed for Mechuka – an advanced landing ground in Arunchal Pradesh closer to the Chinese border. However, the aircraft lost contact with the radar and ground staff and did not reach the Mechuka air base at its scheduled landing time at 1pm.