Indian Air Force missing plane mystery deepens
Declared missing in 1968 with 102 people on board, the mystery of Antonov An-12 twin engine turboprop transport aircraft of the Indian Air Force was unravelled in 2003 when trekkers spotted the body of Sepoy Beli Ram of Akhnoor,Jammu at Dhaka glacier in Lahaul
and Spiti , Himachal Pradesh.
Beli Ram was one of the 98 soldiers besides the four crew members who died in this mysterous crash. 39 years after the tragic crash, Indian Army launched an expedition called Punaruthan-III to trace the mortal remains of others on August 9,2007 and recovered three bodies.
Five years later in 2012 the trekkers fond documents of another Sepoy named Arjun Singh of Pune was also reported missing in 1968.A year later on August 16,2013 body of Havaldar Jagmail singh of Meerpur Rewari was found at the same glacier.
The trekkers continue to discover the wreckage of the missing plane. A mountaineering team on July 1,2018 came across another frozen body at Chandrabhaga-13 peak.
The trekkers and the Indian Army has so far recovered six bodies out of 102 bodies.96 frozen bodies are still under the snow.
Antonov An-12 aircraft had gone missing on February 7,1968 after taking off from Chandigarh was on its way to Leh when the pilot Flt Lt H K singh decided to retreat due to bad weather.The plane was flying over Rohtang Pass when it lost radio contact. The aircraft
according to the reports had crashed on 17,400 feet high Dhaka Glacier in the Chanderbhaga ranges of Lahaul and Spiti district of Himachal Pradesh.
The Indian Government has made several attempts to trace the mortal remains of the missing soldiers and crew members but the bodies are believed to have been scattered in an area of five kilometres and are buried under nine to ten metres of snow.
According to the Indian Army sources, the Dhaka glacier , where the bodies are buried lies between 17000 to 18000 ft and is avalanche-prone .The crash site is at an 80 degree gradient from the base camp and is dotted with innumerable crevasses.