June 12 (UPI) — A day after the wreckage of a missing Indian Air Force plane was spotted in a remote mountainous region near the Chinese border, India said a rescue operation was underway to search for survivors.
The Indian Air Force said Wednesday four special forces IAF Garuds were air dropped from helicopters near the crash site to begin the rescue operation.
“Rescue Operation for the crashed AN-32 is in full swing by IAF,” it said in a tweet. “Additional resources have been mobilized to search for survivors.”
The AN-32, carrying eight crew and five passengers, was reported missing June 3 after it did not reach its destination of Mechuka Village, near the Chinese border.
The aircraft last made contact with ground agencies at 1 p.m., about a half hour after it took off from Jorhat, in the state of Assam, the Ministry of Defense said in a statement.
The wreckage of the aircraft was found Tuesday at an approximate elevation of 12,000 feet about 10 miles north of Lipo in Arunachal Pradesh by an IAF helicopter conducting a search for the plane in the area.
“Efforts are now continuing to establish the status of occupants and establish survivors,” the ministry said in a release.
Despite having identified the site Tuesday afternoon, a Cheetah helicopter and an ALH helicopter conducting searches in the area were unable to land due to the elevation and dense forest, the IAF said.
“However, nearest landing site has been identified & the rescue operation by helicopters will commence tomorrow early morning,” the IAF said on Twitter. “Ground forces will continue to reach the crash site during the night.”
Search operations had so far been hampered due to the dense forests, elevation and weather, the IAF said.