Rescuers find bodies in search for crashed Myanmar plane

Pauline Gross
June 9, 2017

Hundreds of people gathered on a beach in southern Myanmar yesterday desperately waiting for news of their loved ones as the first bodies arrived from the wreck of a military plane that crashed with more than 120 people on board.

The four-engine Chinese-made Y-8 turboprop aircraft had left Myeik, also known as Mergui, heading for Yangon on a route over the Andaman Sea.

The military said the plane was flying at over 18,000 feet when it lost contact with air traffic control at 1.35pm on Wednesday, about half an hour after take-off.

There was conflicting information on the number of people on board the Shaanxi Y8 plane when it disappeared, but in the latest update the military said it was carrying a total of 122 people. All of the bodies were taken to a military hospital in Dawei, which was visited by some of the victims' relatives.

Wai Lin Aung said his mother, who was in her 50s, had been flying back after visiting his sister, who is married to a soldier based in Myeik. "Both of them died", she said.

A military officer said strong currents have made it hard for boats to reach the shore, which means numerous bodies may have to be airlifted to land.

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It was raining at the time, but not heavily.

The search for survivors will continue, Myanmar's military said, according to Reuters.

The commander-in-chief's office said 10 corpses, including five children, had been retrieved from the sea since a navy boat discovered wreckage from the plane early Thursday off the coastline near Dawei town.

Among the passengers were at least 15 children. It is not unusual for such flights to carry civilians to offset transportation costs for military families stationed in the somewhat remote south.

The plane carried 106 passengers - mostly families of military personnel - and 14 crew members.

The military said the plane that crashed was delivered in March previous year and had a total of 809 hours of flying time. It said the pilot and co-pilot both had more than 3,100 hours of flying experience. That plane is believed to have flown far off course and crashed into a remote area of the southern Indian Ocean.

Other reports by GizPress

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