One of the recent surprises was to find the wreckage of an An-12 that has been on display at the Punjab Engineering College in Chandigarh in Haryana. A surprise -- because we thought we knew about all the An-12 accidents in IAF service. Recently Atamvir Singh Multani had published a report in his blog of the wreckage and also his findings that the wreckage belonged to Antonov 12 BL-536 that crashed in Chandigarh on 5 August 1961.
The details of this accident were previously unknown, but have surfaced after they were published in the Soviet Transports Data Archive at the Old Wings website. Sure enough details of the 1st ever An-12 accident were provided by Wg Cdr Gautam Guha. They are reproduced below.
The aircraft was being flown by Flight Lieutenant R K Basu, with Flight Lieutenant T Dey as his co-pilot. Chandigarh in those days had a PSP runway. After a forward area sortie the aircraft landed and its nose gear collapsed. The front fuselage scraping against the PSP runway in a shower of sparks. When the aircraft came to a halt, it was in a tail up position and the rear main door was higher than normal. A ladder was soon procured and all the crew members were evacuated. All the crew exited the main door, but the co-pilot wriggled out of the side window in the cockpit but twisted his ankles on landing.
It wasnt much time after that the aircraft started emitting smoke. it had somehow caught fire. In those days the Fire services at forward airbases were rudimentary and Chandigarh had only one fire tender available - and it failed to start. BL-536 slowly burnt out where it stood - tail high!. Its service in the IAF barely lasted three months or so.
It seems that some wing sections were dispatched and ended up in Chanidgarhs PEC. They are currently displayed in the Aeronautical Engineering Department's Compound.
Who transported them and when is not known . What is known is these are one of the few relics surviving outside of Delhi. (Leh is reported to have some relics on display too). The engine nacelles and huge wing section can be seen below.
All Photographs courtesy of Tony Sarao