Several bodies and debris were found in the water after a Myanmar military plane vanished over the Andaman Sea with 122 soldiers, family members and crew on board, the country’s army said in a statement.
The Chinese-made Y-8 turboprop aircraft disappeared on Wednesday afternoon about a half-hour after leaving Myeik, also known as Mergui, for Yangon on a route that would have taken it over the Andaman Sea.
Three bodies, including two adults and a child, were found on Thursday by a navy ship 35km from the southern coastal town of Launglon, the military said on its official Facebook page.
A plane wheel that was believed to be from the the transport plane was also found, the statement also said.
“We have found the plane and some dead bodies this morning about 8:25am (01:55 GMT),” a spokesman for the military’s information team told the AFP news agency.
“Some were on their way for medical check ups and to attend school,” said a spokesman from the military’s information team.
|A still image a Y-8-200 F military aircraft [File: CINCDS MYANMAR handout via Reuters]|
There was conflicting information on the number of people on board, but in the latest update the military said the plane was carrying a total of 122 people.
More than half of the passengers were from military families, including 15 children, along with 35 soldiers and 14 crew members.
The contact with the plane was lost about a half-hour into the flight, around 1:35pm (7:05 GMT) on Wednesday.
The military named the captain of the Chinese-made Y-8F-200 four-engine turboprop as Lieutenant Colonel Nyein Chan, who it said had more than 3,000 hours of flying experience. He was accompanied by two co-pilots.
The plane was bought in March 2016 and had a total of 809 flying hours. It is monsoon season in Myanmar but there were no reports of stormy weather in the area at the time.
Myanmar’s military fleet has a chequered recent history of plane crashes.
A five-strong crew died when an air force plane burst into flames soon after taking off from the capital Naypyidaw in February last year.
Three army officers were also killed in June when their Mi-2 helicopter crashed into a hillside and burst into flames in south-central Bago.
Source: News agencies
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