Indian authorities on Tuesday, June 11 spotted the wreckage of a plane missing with 13 air force personnel aboard after days of searching a remote mountainous region close to China.
The Soviet-built An-32 plane, carrying eight crew and five passengers, disappeared from radar on June 3 in the northeastern state of Arunachal Pradesh, prompting a frantic search by the Indian Air Force and ground teams.
“The wreckage of the missing #An32 was spotted today … at an approximate elevation of 12,000 ft by the #IAF Mi-17 Helicopter undertaking search in the expanded search zone,” the IAF said on Twitter.
“Efforts are now continuing to establish the status of occupants & establish survivors.”
The wreckage of the missing #An32 was spotted today 16 Kms North of Lipo, North East of Tato at an approximate elevation of 12000 ft by the #IAF Mi-17 Helicopter undertaking search in the expanded search zone..
— Indian Air Force (@IAF_MCC) June 11, 2019
Desperate authorities last week announced a cash reward of 550,000 rupees ($8,000) for any information about the plane.
They also urged village chiefs to organise search parties to scour the Mechuka jungle in the mountainous region.
The twin-engine plane lost contact with ground control 35 minutes after taking off.
In 2016, another An-32 – flying from Chennai to the Andaman and Nicobar Islands – went missing above the Bay of Bengal. It had 29 people aboard and was never found.
Crashes by India’s sizeable fleet of ageing Russian military aircraft are relatively common.
In March, an IAF MiG-21 Bison jet was on a routine sortie from Air Force Station Nal in western Rajasthan state when it crashed near Bikaner near the India-Pakistan border. The crash was later blamed on a bird strike.
On January 28, an Indian Air Force SEPECAT Jaguar fighter jet crashed shortly after takeoff in Uttar Pradesh. Three days later, a Mirage 2000 fighter jet crashed in Bangalore during a routine testing flight, killing two pilots.
With reporting from AFP