The Congress Thursday paid tributes to the 13 people killed in the IAF aircraft crash in Arunachal Pradesh, saying the country shall remain indebted for their valiant contributions. Congress president Rahul Gandhi expressed his deepest condolences to the families of the "13 brave men in uniform".
All 13 people on board the AN-32 aircraft which crashed are dead, the IAF said after a team of rescuers spotted the wreckage of the plane in a heavily forested mountainous terrain on Thursday. "For over 10 days India has hoped & prayed that our 13 Air-Warriors on the missing IAF #AN32 were safe. Sadly, it is now confirmed that all 13 have perished in a crash. My deepest condolences to the families of our 13 brave men in uniform. You are in my thoughts & prayers," Gandhi tweeted.
Those who died in the crash are Wing Commander G M Charles, Squadron Leader H Vinod, Flight Lieutenants L R Thapa, MK Garg, Ashish Tanwar and Sumit Mohanty, Warrant officer K K Mishra, Sergeant Anoop Kumar, Corporal Sherin, LAC (leading aircraft man) S K Singh, LAC Pankaj, and non combatants Rajesh Kumar and Putali.
"My salutations and tribute to the air warriors of @IAF_MCC who lost their precious lives in the AN-32 aircraft. Extremely saddened. My deepest condolences to the families of our brave men. Nation shall forever remain indebted to their valiant contributions," Congress' chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala tweeted.
The Russian-origin AN-32 aircraft was going from Jorhat in Assam to Menchuka advanced landing ground near the border with China on June 3 when it lost contact around half-an-hour after taking off. The wreckage of the plane was spotted by an IAF chopper on Tuesday at a height of 12,000 ft near Gatte village on the border of Siang and Shi-Yomi districts, after eight days of a massive search operation involving a fleet of aircraft and choppers as well as ground forces.