New Delhi: The Monday crash of an Indian Air Force Antonov AN-32 aircraft with 13 personnel on board near Mechuka in West Siang district of Arunachal Pradesh bears a spooky resemblance to an air crash involving the transport plane exactly 10 years ago in the same location, which had the same number of people on board.
According to initial information, the AN-32 went missing at about 1 pm Monday while on its way to the Mechuka advanced landing ground. Sources say the aircraft was about 30 km away from the landing spot when it went missing from the radar.
A massive search operation was launched by the IAF to trace the missing aircraft. At the time of filing this report, sources said the wreckage had not been spotted.
Those on board the aircraft included one wing commander, four flight lieutenants, one squadron leader and seven airmen.
Action replay of a tragedy
In June 2009, an AN-32 aircraft just like the one involved in Monday’s incident, had gone missing with 13 people on board while proceeding to the same location — the Mechuka advanced landing ground.
Following a massive search operation, the wreckage of the aircraft was found 25 km from the landing area. All 13 on board were killed in the crash.
Body parts of crew-members were found strewn around the wreckage of the mangled aircraft, the Additional Superintendent of Police at the time, H. Lanin, had told PTI over the telephone from Aalo, headquarters of the West Siang district.
Seven IAF men, including two wing commanders, two squadron leaders and a flight lieutenant, and six Army personnel were on board that aircraft, which was heading from Mechuka to Mohanbari airbase in Assam.
At the time, bad weather had delayed search and rescue operations, with an Mi-17 helicopter finding the crashed AN-32 a day after the incident.