Chinese-Made Fighter Jets Crash in Magwe, Killing Girl, Pilots

By The Irrawaddy 16 October 2018

YANGON — A sixth-grade girl and two pilots were killed when a pair of military planes crashed in Magwe Region’s Minbu Township on Tuesday morning.

Thwel Zin Nyein, who lived in Minbu’s 4th Ward, was struck and killed by debris from one of the planes that crashed during a training exercise.

“She was reading for the exam when the parts hit her in the back. She died at the hospital,” Lower House lawmaker U Win Win, who represents Minbu, told The Irrawaddy.

Four other students were also reading with her in a group at the time of the accident, but none of them was seriously injured, said U Win Win, who visited the victim’s house.

The Office of the Commander-in-Chief blamed the crashes on bad weather.

According to a statement from the military, four F-7 fighters from Magwe Airbase were taking part in the training exercise when the weather suddenly turned bad at about 6:20 a.m. It said two of the planes landed safely and two crashed, killing Captain Hein Thu Aung and Captain Phyo Maung Maung.

One of the planes crashed near the Sar Bwak creek and the other crashed in a field 1 kilometer west of That Nat Pin Su village.

Photos of one of the crash sites shared on social media showed bullets spread around the aircraft parts.

Locals who said they witnessed one of the crashes told The Irrawaddy that the plane struck a broadcast tower before hitting the ground. One resident, Ko Hsan Win Tun, said he went to the scene and saw that the tower was broken.

In April, an F-7 fighter from Toungoo Airbase also crashed, killing the pilot.

The F-7 is a version of the Soviet Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-21 licensed and built by China.

In September, a military G-4 jet fighter from Pathein Airbase crashed about 19 kilometers from Rakhine State’s Gwa Township. Two pilots died in the accident.

Translated from Burmese by Thet Ko Ko.