Defence Minister Rajnath Singh paid homage to all 13 air warriors who lost their lives in the AN-32 crash in Arunachal Pradesh earlier this month.
The mortal remains of the air warriors were brought to Delhi, from where they will be sent to their respective hometowns. Singh met families of the deceased IAF personnel at the Indian Air Force technical area at Palam. Singh tweeted that he met and shared his condolences with the families of the deceased:
"Met with the families and friends of the deceased Air-warriors of An32 and shared my grief and heartfelt condolences with them. My thoughts and prayers are with them. May God give them strength to bear this monumental loss," he said
In another tweet Singh posted pictures from his visit to the IAF Technical Area at Palam and said that the 13 air warriors served the nation with confidence and courage:
The wreckage of the missing AN-32 was located by an Mi-17 helicopter on June 11 in Payum circle in Siang district in Arunachal Pradesh, following which a team of 15 mountaineers was dropped near the crash site the next day. Even so, the bodies could not be retrieved due to bad weather and hostile terrain. The bodies were finally recovered and brought to the Johrat Air base on Thursday.
The Russian-made aircraft crashed on June 3 in Arunachal Pradesh. In a bid to search for the missing aircraft, the IAF had mobilized every possible asset at its disposal. Light helicopters like Cheetah and UAV drones were also a part of the intensified search operation which went on for eight days. Other military counterparts including the Indian Navy and Indian Army, as well as police and locals took part in the search operations which were ably assisted by the government of Arunachal Pradesh, with the Chief Minister and Chief Secretary overseeing operations themselves.