'Bodies could be spread over kilometres' | chandigarh | Hindustan Times
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'Bodies could be spread over kilometres'

Inder Dev Sharma, senior mountaineer and snow rescue instructor at the Atal Bihari Vajpayee Institute of Mountaineering and Allied Sports, Manali, on Thursday said the AN-12 aircraft must have hit the CB-13 peak of Dhakka Glacier at about 20,500 feet and the wreckage and bodies could be spread over an area spreading into kilometres.

chandigarh Updated: Sep 06, 2013 00:48 IST
Bhartesh Singh Thakur

Inder Dev Sharma, senior mountaineer and snow rescue instructor at the Atal Bihari Vajpayee Institute of Mountaineering and Allied Sports, Manali, on Thursday said the AN-12 aircraft must have hit the CB-13 peak of Dhakka Glacier at about 20,500 feet and the wreckage and bodies could be spread over an area spreading into kilometres.

Sharma was the leader of the expedition which spotted the wreckage of the ill-fated plane and the first body from among the 102 personnel on board for the first time in 2003 since the crash.

"That was my second visit. In the first visit in 1987, I had discovered a soldier's letter but its contents were washed out. I also found the army's insignia. So when I went in 2003 as course in-charge and leader of a 45-member team, there was curiosity," remembers Sharma. That year was the golden jubilee of the institute.

"I was searching here and there and found Beli Ram's body. We identified him through his boarding pass found in the pocket. It was in a plastic packet."

"After returning I handed it over to the director of our institute, who took it up with the army authorities. Then I went with the Air Force people in a helicopter to show them the wreckage."

Regarding search operations, he said, "The area remains under heavy snow throughout the year. However, the months of July, August and September are ideal for carrying out search operations." He added that it was difficult to find all the bodies as they could have been crushed as the glacier moved. "There are chances that bodies could be found under moraines," he said.

"It is not possible to dig a glacier. In deep gorges you cannot reach without taking high risk. You cannot bring the JCB here."

"With time the glacier is melting, that is why these bodies are being discovered," he said.