NAYPYITAW — A military helicopter ferrying State Counselor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi made an emergency landing in Shan State’s Mong Ton Township on Wednesday because of a hydraulic fluid leak.
The state counselor had just attended the groundbreaking ceremony for Mong Ton Ta Seng Bridge in eastern Shan and was en route to Mong Hsat Township when the chopper was forced to land.
Daw Aung San Suu Kyi thanked the pilot and said he made the right decision, State Counselor’s Office spokesman U Zaw Htay told The Irrawaddy.
“Daw Aung San Suu Kyi was grateful to the Tatmadaw [military], which arranged the helicopters and the pilot, who made the right decision,” he said.
“Under such circumstances, it is up to the pilot to decide whether or not it is safe. His decision was right, and the trip went well, as expected,” he added.
The helicopter that made the emergency landing as well as two others have flown back to base in Nansang Township.
“Shortly after the helicopter took off, it had to land due to a hydraulic fluid leak. Then she switched to another helicopter and left,” U Tin Khaing, chairman of the Mong Ton Township chapter of the ruling National League for Democracy, told The Irrawaddy.
Daw Aung San Suu Kyi finally arrived safely in Mong Hsat, where her meeting with local residents was broadcast by the State Counselor’s Office.
U Win Myat Aye, the Union Minister for Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement, once told the media that the government did not have its own helicopters and had to ask the military to help facilitate trips on its own choppers.
In August the state counselor rented helicopters from the Htoo Company for her trip to Magwe Region’s Pakokku Township. U Zaw Htay said at the time that she did not use military helicopters on the occasion because the trip was partly personal.
According to sources in Naypyitaw, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi will be travelling around Shan State and then visit Tanintharyi Region.
Translated from Burmese by Thet Ko Ko.