Teams of mountaineers in two Mi-17 helicopters and an advanced light helicopter of IAF left for Payum in West Siang district of Arunachal Pradesh, where the wreckage of the AN-32 was sighted on Tuesday.
IAF spokesperson at Shillong, Wing Commander Ratnakar Singh said mountaineering teams comprising IAF, army and civil authorities were induced on Wednesday morning for the operation. "Arunachal Pradesh government agencies and local people are helping us immensely in the operation," Singh said.
An MI-17 helicopter had spotted the wreckage of the aircraft on Tuesday afternoon, eight days after it went missing. The aircraft took off at 12.27 pm on June 3 from Jorhat air force station in eastern Assam with eight crewmen and five other IAF personnel for Mechuka, close to China border in Arunachal Pradesh. But it lost control with the ground agencies around 1 pm over along the headquarters of West Siang district.
"The aircraft that lost control at Payum after takeoff from Jorhat appears to have turned left towards Mechuka from Gasheng village and lost its control near Gatte. The area has tough topography and terrain and retrieving the remains may take some time," said a statement issued by West Siang district administration.
Family members of those who boarded the aircraft are awaiting in the Jorhat air force station.
The IAF deployed services of four Mi-17, three ALH, two Su-30 MKI, one C-130, two Cheetah helicopters, one Army UAV and Pi8, a maritime reconnaissance aircraft of Indian Navy to carry out the search. Bad weather and low clouds, however, affected the search from the air.
Teams of local residents including hunters were also sent to remote locations in the jungles to search the possible wreckage of the aircraft.