India finds wreckage of plane missing with 13 on board

An Indian Air Force AN-32 transport aircraft carrying security personnel takes off from the technical airport in Jammu, India, on Feb 9, 2008. PHOTO: REUTERS

NEW DELHI (AFP) - Indian authorities on Tuesday (June 11) spotted the wreckage of a plane missing with 13 air force personnel aboard after days of searching a remote mountainous region close to China.

The Soviet-built AN-32 plane, carrying eight crew and five passengers, disappeared from radar on June 3 in the north-eastern state of Arunachal Pradesh, prompting a frantic search by the Indian Air Force (IAF) and ground teams.

"The wreckage of the missing #An32 was spotted today... at an approximate elevation of 12,000 ft by the #IAF Mi-17 Helicopter undertaking search in the expanded search zone," the IAF said on Twitter.

"Efforts are now continuing to establish the status of occupants & establish survivors."

Desperate authorities last week announced a cash reward of 550,000 rupees (S$10,800) for any information about the plane.

They also urged village chiefs to organise search parties to scour the Mechuka jungle in the mountainous region.

The twin-engine plane lost contact with ground control 35 minutes after taking off.

In 2016, another AN-32 - flying from Chennai to the Andaman and Nicobar Islands - went missing above the Bay of Bengal. It had 29 people aboard and was never found.

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