All 15 members of a search and rescue team, stranded at the An-32 crash site in Arunachal Pradesh's Siang district, were retrieved by the Indian Air Force (IAF) on Saturday, June 29.
The team, comprising of eight IAF personnel, four from the Army and three civilians were air-dropped on June 12 to retrieve the bodies of 13 IAF personnel who were killed in the crash on June 3.
"All members are fit and in good health. IAF is thankful to the Indian Army, Arunachal Pradesh state administration, the police and local civilians for their unflinching support in this search and rescue mission," said Shillong-based IAF spokesman Wing Commander Ratnakar Singh.
The rescue team was retrieved with the help of Advanced Light Helicopters and Mi-17V5 helicopters. The task was delayed due to monsoon rains, hostile terrain, clouds, wild animals, snakes and insects.
Effort to retrieve them was delayed due to inclement weather & rain, which improved slightly today evening, allowing the risky operations to be undertaken. IAF is thankful to #IndianArmy, Arunachal Pradesh State Admin, Police & local civilians for their unflinching support.— Indian Air Force (@IAF_MCC) June 29, 2019
"The IAF has been trying to retrieve the mountaineering team as soon as possible. Despite ongoing active monsoon conditions, several sorties have been launched to reach the crash site but excessive clouding has prevented helicopter landings there," Singh had said earlier.
The Russian-origin An-32 aircraft went missing after it took off from Jorhat airbase in Assam at 12.25 pm on June 3 for the Mechuka Advance Landing Ground in Arunachal Pradesh. The plane's last contact with ground agencies was at around 1.00 pm on the same day, within 33 minutes of taking off.