Paying homage to the fallen airforce warriors in the AN-32 aircraft which went missing after taking off from Jorhat airbase in Assam on June 3, the Indian Airforce (IAF) conducted a wreath-laying ceremony to the 13 victims at the Air Force Station Jorhat, after their remains were recovered by a ground trekking team on Wednesday.
Air Marshal RD Mathur, Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Eastern Air Command presided at the event paying his tribute to the fallen warriors.
Sharing a tribute reverberating the boundless infinite journey which lay ahead of the fallen warriors, IAF wrote:
Earlier on Wednesday, after retrieval of the bodies of the 13 Air Force personnel, on board the ill-fated AN-32 aircraft that crashed in Arunachal Pradesh, remained suspended, air force officials said that a ground team comprising Garud commandos, civilian porters and hunters was on its way to the site on foot.
Helicopters, including Mi-17s, Cheetah, and ALH have been unable to approach the site during the last three days because of inclement weather in the valleys and cloud cover over the crash site, officials said.
The wreckage of the missing AN-32 was located by a 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.
The Indian Air force had lost contact with an AN-32 Aircraft on June 3, which was overdue to arrive at the Menchuka Advanced Landing Ground at Arunachal Pradesh.
The aircraft which was a transport aircraft of the Indian Air Force, made the last contact with ground sources at 1 PM after taking off from the Jorhat airbase in Assam at 12:25 PM. There had reportedly been no contact since. All 13 persons on board the aircraft were air warriors - 8 crew and 5 passengers.
The Indian Air Force (IAF) which had initially launched a search operation for the missing aircraft using a Sukhoi-30 combat aircraft and a C-130 Special Ops aircraft, intensified the search in the successive days roping in the help of Indian Army, police, paramilitary forces, and the local population. The Government of Arunachal Pradesh ably assisted the forces in the search and rescue, with the Chief Minister and Chief Secretary monitoring the operation directly.