Indian plane wreckage found; fate of 13 on board not known

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GAUHATI, India (AP) — The Indian air force on Tuesday spotted the wreckage of an AN-32 transport plane nine days after it went missing near the border with China, but the fate of 13 people on board was still not known.

Paratroopers are likely to be lowered by ropes from helicopters in the area on Wednesday, air force spokesman Ratnakar Singh said.

Local administrator Mito Dirchi said a ground search team was also on its way to the crash site in a heavily wooded and uninhabited mountainous area of Shi Yomi district in northeastern Arunachal Pradesh, but could take two to three days to reach the spot.

The ground search team includes some tribal hunters and police and paramilitary soldiers, Dirchi said.

The air force said in a tweet Tuesday that the wreckage was spotted by a helicopter at an elevation of about 12,000 feet (3,650 meters).

The plane was flying to a high-altitude airstrip in Mechuka, a small town about 30 kilometers (19 miles) from the India-China border in Arunachal Pradesh state.

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