SHIMLA, Sep 1 – The body of an Indian soldier who died in a plane crash 45 years ago has been found in the Himalayas and will be given a military funeral, the army said Sunday.
A team found the soldier’s body, still wearing a uniform with personal identification documents in the pocket, on August 22 more than four decades after he and 97 others died when an army transport aircraft crashed in February 1968.
The man, identified as Jagmail Singh, came from Meerpur village in Haryana state south of the Himalayas, an army spokesman said.
“Bad weather hasn’t allowed us to fly the body home yet for a military funeral,” he told AFP.
The remains were recovered at an altitude of 18,000 feet (5,400 metres) on the Dhakka glacier in Himachal Pradesh state.
“His identity was established by an identity disc , an insurance policy and a letter from his family which was found in his pocket,” the spokesman said.
Trekkers stumbled upon the wreckage of the plane in 2003 after finding the partially frozen body of a soldier on the glacier in a particularly remote stretch of the Himalayas.
The army mounted three search missions in the years up to 2009 and recovered four more bodies.
The latest search started on August 13, with the aim of retrieving more bodies as well as a flight recorder that could help explain the cause of the crash.
The Himalayas have long been an icy graveyard for those who disappear in them.
A 1999 expedition to Mount Everest discovered the frozen body of British mountaineer George Mallory, who vanished in 1924 as he tried to reach the world’s highest point.