Myanmar’s military aircraft went missing Wednesday afternoon carrying 122 passengers, which included several army officers and children. A search operation was immediately launched by the army which carried on throughout the night. According to recent reports, the search crew has located the wreckage of the missing plane along with ten dead bodies, six adults and four children were found about 35 km (22 miles) off the southern coastal town of Launglon by navy and civilian ships. More than 40 ambulances and emergency staff have been sent to the fishing town near the southern coast where boats carrying bodies have arrived. The cause of the plane’s crash remains unclear at the moment. Investigators will get details of what happened once they recover the black box of the aircraft.
Here is everything we know so far on the incident:
Myanmar’s Y-8-200 F army plane went missing on Wednesday afternoon at around 1:06 pm (Myanmar local time). The Chinese-built military air carrier took off from the coastal town of Myeik and was on its way to city of Yangon when it disappeared.
How many passengers were in the plane?
Earlier there were conflicting reports on the number of people on the plane, with initials report suggesting that there were 105 people on board. But later, the military confirmed the plane was on its weekly military visit to the largest city of Yangon, carrying a total of 122 passengers. The passengers included 108 soldiers with their family members, along with 14 crew members. According to a military statement cited by Reuters, there were 15 children, 58 adults and 35 soldiers and officers on the plane at the time of its disappearance.
How did the plane disappear?
According to military officials, the plane lost contact 29 minutes after taking off while flying 18,000 feet above Andaman Sea. “Communication was lost suddenly at about 1:35 PM (07:05 GMT) when it reached about 20 miles west of Dawei town,” the commander-in-chief’s office said in a statement, adding search and rescue was ongoing.
On asking what went wrong with the plane, the official reason behind the loss of communication remains unknown. “We don’t know what exactly happened to this plane after the loss of contact,” said Kyaw Kyaw Htey, a civil aviation official at Myeik airport. He further added that the weather was “normal” with clear visibility when the plane took off.
How did the military responded?
After the plane went missing, the military launched a search operation. Nine navy ships and three military planes were dispatched to look for the missing aircraft. The military suspected that the plane may have crashed in the Andaman Sea. The military carried on the search operation throughout the night.
How is the search operation working out?
At around 8:25 am on Thursday (Myanmar local time), the military said that they have found the wreckage of the plane along with some bodies in the Andaman Sea. “We have found the plane and some dead bodies this morning about 8.25 AM (0725 IST),” a spokesman for the military’s information team said.
Earlier the local official had reported that debris of the plane were found in the Andaman Sea late night on Wednesday. “Now they have found pieces of the damaged plane in the sea 136 miles (218 km) away from Dawei city,” Naing Lin Zaw, a tourism official said. He added the was still searching the sea. The cause behind the crash remains unclear at the moment.