Three Bodies, Debris Found in Search for Missing Military Plane

By The Irrawaddy & Reuters 8 June 2017

RANGOON — Navy vessels found three bodies and debris from a military aircraft carrying 122 people that went missing flying between Tanintharyi Division’s Myeik and Rangoon on Wednesday afternoon, according to the Burma Army commander-in-chief’s office Facebook post on Thursday morning.

The bodies of one male, one female, and one child were found 35 kilometers (22 miles) southwest of Dawei District’s Launglon Township in the Andaman Sea at 8:18 a.m. on Thursday, along with a wheel, lifejackets and luggage, the statement read.

Nine military boats and three aircraft began searching for the Y-200 F military transport plane after contact was lost about 69 kilometers (43 miles) southwest of Tanintharyi Division’s Dawei at 1:35 p.m. on Wednesday.

According to figures released by the office of the commander-in-chief, 14 crew members and 108 military staff members and their families, including 15 children, were on board when the plane lost communication with Dawei airbase.

Six high-ranking officers and 29 other military personnel were on board.  The plane’s captain was Lt-Col Nyein Chan and the co-pilots were Lt-Col Soe Thu Win and Maj Thant Zin Htay.

The Chinese-made plane was acquired in March 2016 and had a total of 809 flying hours. It was also carrying 2.4 tons of supplies, according to the military statement. A civil aviation official told Reuters the weather had been “normal” with good visibility when the plane took off.

Nicknamed “air camel” in Chinese, the multi-purpose aircraft was approved for production in 1980 and is still being produced by Shaanxi Aircraft Corporation, a unit of state-owned Aviation Industry Corp of China. The four-spoke turboprop is used in countries including China and Sudan.

A military helicopter crashed last June in central Burma, killing three military personnel on board.

Five military personnel were killed last February after an air force aircraft crashed in the country’s capital, Naypyidaw, according to media reports. Two people were killed and 11 injured after a small private plane crashed in central Burma in 2012.