ITANAGAR, Jun 20: The mortal remains of the 13 Indian Air Force (IAF) personnel who lost their lives in Arunachal on 3 June were sent to the IAF station in Jorhat, Assam, on Thursday.
According to the defence PRO, “six bodies and seven mortal remains were recovered from the crash site.”
The PIB in a statement said the mortal remains would be sent to the hometowns of the IAF personnel, where funeral as per the service customs will be carried out.
On 3 June, the An-32 aircraft with 13 on board lost radar contact while on its way from Jorhat to Mechuka in Shi Yomi district.
After a prolonged search by three wings of the defence services, the district administrations of Siang, West Siang and Shi Yomi, and local civilians, the wreckage of the plane was finally located on 11 June.
However, retrieval of the bodies took more time because of the bad weather. The IAF said it stands with the families and the next-of-kin of all the air warriors who lost their lives in the line of duty.
It also thanked the Indian Army, the Indian Navy, the National Technical Research Organisation, and the state administration and the civilian population of Arunachal for their unstinted support during the search and rescue operations.
Earlier, there were reports that the retrieved black box of the An-32 was damaged, and that only seven bodies had been spotted at the crash site.
The cockpit voice recorder and the flight data recorder (both of which the black box contained) were recovered from the crash site. However, there are reports that the data were lost as the equipment was damaged, but the IAF has not issued a clarification in this regard.
The 13 IAF personnel were: Wing Commander GM Charles, Squadron Leader H Vinod, Flight Lieutenants R Thapa, A Tanwar, S Mohanty and MK Garg, Warrant Officer KK Mishra, Sergeant Anoop Kumar, Corporal Sherin, Leading Air Craftsmen SK Singh and Pankaj, and non-combatants (E) Putali and Rajesh Kumar.