New Delhi: Efforts began on Saturday morning to retrieve the mortal remains of all 13 Indian Air Force (IAF) personnel onboard the AN-32 who lost their lives in a crash near Lipo in Arunachal Pradesh.

The rescue team recovered a cockpit voice recorder (CVR) and flight data recorder (FDR) of the Russian-origin aircraft at the crash site in Arunachal Pradesh on Friday, stated an IAF spokesman.

The rescue mission’s progress was hampered by the cold weather in the area. IAF through its official Twitter handle said on Saturday, “Cheetah & ALH Helicopters are on standby and are waiting to commence operations once the weather improves. At present, there are low clouds associated with rain in the area. #IAF in making all efforts to retrieve the mortal remains of the deceased air-warriors.”

Notably, the IAF added that the families of the air-warriors are being kept informed about the progress of the rescue mission.

The Russian-origin An-32 aircraft was en-route 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 IAF rescue team had received extensive support from the district administration, stated Siang district deputy commissioner Rajeev Takuk. The DC further explained the difficulties faced by the rescue team to locate the site of the crash which being located in a steep gorge remained inaccessible.

The wreckage of the plane was spotted by an IAF chopper on Tuesday at a height of 12,000 feet 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.

A 15-member team of rescuers was sent to look for survivors in the accident site on Wednesday and eight of them reached the place on Thursday morning.

Meanwhile, Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Pema Khandu and Governor Brig (Retd) BD Mishra have conveyed their condolences to the bereaved family members of the air warriors of the unfortunate IAF AN-32 aircraft which crashed on June 3 last in Arunachal mountain.

(With PTI inputs)