RANGOON — The Burmese military has announced that it will cooperate with the Chinese manufacturer of the military plane that crashed into the Andaman Sea on Wednesday for an investigation.
As of Thursday afternoon, only 31 bodies had been found. The fate of the rest remains unknown. However, given the altitude and nature of the crash site, survivors are unlikely. The death of all 122 passengers would mark this as the most tragic aviation accident in the country in the past decade.
The Office of the Commander-in-Chief released a statement on Thursday afternoon that said: “Officials from the company [Shannxi Aircraft Corporation] that produced the aircraft will also cooperate in the investigation.”
It did not mention when the investigation would begin.
A plane wheel has been retrieved but the fuselage and other debris from the Y-8 remain missing. The recovered bodies were sent to a military hospital in Dawei for autopsy and identification. Ten of the identified bodies were cremated on Friday afternoon in Dawei.
On Friday, search and rescue missions were still underway in the Andaman Sea despite severe weather in the area. Eight Burma Navy vessels and 20 local fishing trawlers searched for bodies and debris using divers and sonar systems.
The aircraft, a Y-8 200F, was flying at 18,000 feet over the Andaman Sea when it lost contact with Dawei Airport at 1:35 p.m. en route from Tanintharyi Division’s Myeik to Rangoon on Wednesday.
According to the flight’s passenger manifest released by the military, those on board were not only servicemen. There were family members and children on board who were returning home and others who were undergoing hospital transfer.