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Indian authorities say no survivors of air force plane crash

June 13, 2019

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The Indian airforce plane with five Indian air force officers and eight people of other ranks lost ground contact on June 3. — Reuters/File
The Indian airforce plane with five Indian air force officers and eight people of other ranks lost ground contact on June 3. — Reuters/File

There were no survivors of a military transport plane crash last week in a mountainous area near the border with China, Indian authorities said on Thursday.

A team of rescuers airlifted to a place lower on the mountain in Arunachal Pradesh, India's northeastern-most state, climbed up to the crash site on foot early on Thursday and confirmed that none of the 13 people on board were alive, the Indian air force said on Twitter.

“Our rescue team reached the site at an elevation of 12,000 feet this morning and did not find survivors,” said Indian Air Force Wing Commander Ratnakar Singh.

The AN-32 plane with five Indian air force officers and eight people of other ranks lost ground contact on June 3 on its way to a high-altitude airstrip in Mechuka, 29 kilometres from the Chinese border.

Even after deploying satellites and sensitive radars, it took nine days for air force and navy personnel to locate the wreckage because of the remoteness of the heavily forested area.

The air force released a photo of a charred patch of land on a steep slope covered with evergreen trees, leading to speculation that the plane crashed just below the summit. Officials have not said what caused the crash.