Tribune News Service
New Delhi, June 20
The Indian Air Force (IAF) has recovered the bodies of all 13 people who died in an AN-32 crash on June 3 near Mechuka in Arunachal Pradesh.
The recovery of bodies had been hampered over the past one week as bad weather prevented helicopter operations since June 14.
The bodies of the IAF men will now be transported to the places of their families for final rites.
The crash site at an altitude of 12,000 feet is surrounded by dense jungles and has no habitation for miles around it. Some portions of the terrain have never been visited by human beings.
While helicopters were unable to operate, the Air Force had opted for an unknown route through dense forests and sent a team of porters and hunters on foot on June 18.
A team of mountaineers comprising Air Force and Army personnel and locals is camping at the site. The team was heli-dropped in the inaccessible area on June 13 and was in touch with the IAF authorities through a satellite phone.
Operations to retrieve the bodies need the helicopter pilots to be able to see the steep mountain sides to safely hover close to the crash site and team of the ground then attaches a body bag to be winched up.
The wreckage of the AN-32 that went missing on June 3 was located by a Mi-17 helicopter on June 11. A team of mountaineers reached the site on June 13 and found the 13 IAF personnel dead.
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