Thursday, August 17, 2017

Rescue work continues in military plane crash

Search and rescue operations for the missing Tatmadaw transport plane will go on, said the Tatmadaw Commander-in-Chief’s office in a statement Wednesday.

A scene at the shore by San Lann village near where rescue work was being conducted on June 8. Photo - EPAA scene at the shore by San Lann village near where rescue work was being conducted on June 8. Photo - EPA

So far, 87 bodies have been recovered from the June 7 crash of the Chinese-made aircraft, which was carrying 122 passengers, including 35 Tatmadaw servicemen, 73 family members and 14 crew as well as goods.

Contact with the plane was lost about 20 miles west of Dawei on its return journey from Myeik to Yangon.

A day after the four-engine turboprop plane went missing, three bodies were found – a man, a woman and a child.

Plane parts and debris were found in the sea west of Kyauk Ni Maw village and south-west of Laung Lone city on June 8.

Senior General Min Aung Hlaing expressed regret over the plane crash and loss of more than 100 lives.

“We are very sorry that this accident happened. We have never before had a tragedy like this in the Tatmadaw’s history,” he said at a ceremony to provide financial help for the victims’ families.

The search would continue, and three possible causes are being investigated – mechanical failure, possible explosive material on board or pilot error, he said.

After the crash, a local online news portal, The Ladies News, reported that it was caused by the explosion of a cooking gas cylinder on board. It did not state the source of its information, which the Tatmadaw has denied and condemned.

Senior General Min Aung Hlaing said the weather when contact was lost with Dawei airport at about 1:30pm will be taken into account, adding that if the pilot faced difficulties, he could have returned immediately to Dawei airport and would have arrived within half an hour.

So far, 71 bodies have been identified, of which 35 are males, 28 females and 8 children. They have been cremated, according to a news release by Tatmadaw on Wednesday.

The Y-8F-200, bearing serial No. 5820, was bought in March 2016. It was used as a military transport aircraft, had a load capacity of 20 tonnes, and had logged 809 flying hours.