The Indian Air Force (IAF) on Saturday airlifted the stranded 15-member rescue team from the site where the AN-32 aircraft crashed in Arunachal Pradesh on June 3, according to an official.
Shillong-based IAF spokesman Wing Commander Ratnakar Singh said the team — comprising eight personnel of the IAF, four of the Army and three civilians — were airlifted from the crash site using ALH and MI-17 V5 helicopters, adding that all the members who were taken to Aalo in West Siang district, are fit and in good health.
Taking to Twitter, the IAF also confirmed the news along with a photograph of the 15-member rescue team that retrieved the bodies of 13 people who were on board the AN-32 aircraft which crashed in the mountains of Arunachal Pradesh early this month. The black box of the plane was also rescued by the team.
Today evening, the search & rescue team, camping at the An-32 crash site since 12 Jun, was retrieved by IAF helicopters to Along. The 15 member team comprising of 8 from #IAF, 4 from #Army & 3 civilians were recovered using ALH & Mi-17V5 helicopters. All are fit & in good health. pic.twitter.com/HA0ASutOK1— Indian Air Force (@IAF_MCC) June 29, 2019
The members of the rescue team had been stranded in the border area of Siang and Shi-Yomi districts for 17 days at a height of 12,000 feet, where they were airdropped for the rescue operation.
Singh said efforts to airlift the team was delayed due to inclement weather, which improved slightly on Saturday evening, allowing the "risky" helicopter operations to be undertaken.
The Russian AN-32 aircraft went missing 33 minutes after taking off from Assam’s Jorhat on June 3. It was headed to Mechuka in Shi-Yomi district.
The task of retrieving the 13 bodies from the crash site in the Pari mountains in Siang district was completed on June 20. While six bodies were retrieved on June 19, the remaining seven were recovered the next day, the IAF official said.