Two Pilots of Missing Military Training Jet Confirmed Dead

By Salai Thant Zin 23 October 2017

PATHEIN, Irrawaddy Region — Two pilots aboard a missing military training jet found last week some 12 miles south of Gwa Township in Rakhine State after going missing last month were confirmed dead by the Tatmadaw medical team last week.

The search and research team found the body of pilot Maj. Kaung Htike near the wreckage. Though the body of co-pilot Capt. Thaw Zin Soe was not recovered, the team found his personal belongings at the scene.

Two pilot seats attached with parachutes, and two survival kits were found at the scene, according to a statement from the Office of the Commander-in-Chief of Defence Services.

“Though the body of Capt. Thaw Zin Soe was not found, his personal belongings including his watch were found. So the medical team confirmed the death of both pilots,” a senior military officer who participated in search and rescue operation told The Irrawaddy.

“A military funeral will be held for Maj. Kaung Htike at the scene and we’ll take back the ashes,” he added.

The G-4 military training aircraft disappeared during a training exercise over Pathein, Gwa, Hinthada, and back to Pathein, the capital of Irrawaddy Region, on Sept. 5. The plane lost contact about 36 miles northwest of Pathein. Parts of the aircraft were discovered last Wednesday on the 44th day of the search and rescue operation.

The training jet had been used by Maj. Kaung Htike to train new pilots for the last three years.

He passed the No. 64 piloting training from Namhsan Pilot Training School in Shan State, and was assigned to Mingalardon Air Base. Since 2007, he had been stationed at Pathein Air Base.

He was survived by his wife and a daughter, and so is the case for Capt. Thaw Zin Soe.

The training jet was a military training aircraft manufactured by Yugoslavia in 1984. The full name of the aircraft is SoKo G-4 Super Galeb, and it was worth US$4.2 million according to 2010 prices.

From 1984 to 1991, Yugoslavia manufactured 85 G-4 aircrafts, and Myanmar Air Force has procured six of them. Serbian military still use the planes.