New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: After carrying out a rigorous search operation for eight days, the Mi-17 helicopters of the Indian Air Force on Tuesday found the wreckage of missing AN-32 aircraft which had gone missing on June 3. 

"The wreckage of the missing AN-32 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," the IAF said in a statement.

The IAF said that efforts are underway to establish the status of the 13 people who were aboard the IAF passenger aircraft. "Efforts are now continuing to establish the status of occupants and establish survivors. Further details will be communicated as the recovery actions progress," it said in a statement. 

The Russian-origin AN-32 aircraft with 13 people on board lost contact on Monday afternoon after taking off from Jorhat in Assam for Menchuka advanced landing ground near the border with China.

The IAF had launched a massive search operation in and around Menchuka hours after the aircraft went missing. It had even announced a reward of Rs 5 lakh to anyone providing information about location of the AN-32 transport aircraft. 

The aerial seach operation could not be undertaken on Saturday and Sunday due to bad weather in remote Mechuka in Arunachal Pradesh. The search and rescue operations (SAR) were carried out by helicopters and C-130s during the day on Monday.

The assets deployed for the operation include Sukhoi-30 aircraft in addition to a fleet of C-130J and AN-32 planes and Mi-17 and ALH helicopters. The ground forces include troops from the Army, Indo Tibetan Border Police and state police.

The IAF has been regularly updating the families of all air warriors on board the aircraft about the rescue operation.

The Indian Navy's P-8I aircraft was deployed earlier this week as it has electro-optical and infra-red sensors which could be helpful in the search operation. ISRO's Cartosat and RISAT satellites took images of the area around Menchuka to help the rescuers find the plane.

The AN-32 aircraft took off from Jorhat at 12.27 pm for the Menchuka advance landing ground and its last contact with the ground control was at 1 pm. A total of eight crew and five passengers were on board the aircraft.

The AN-32 is a Russian origin aircraft and the IAF currently operates a sizeable number of it. It is a twin-engine turboprop transport aircraft. 

Posted By: Abhinav Gupta