Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Unidentified falling object in Hpakant

A piece of an aircraft, believed to be an engine, struck a Hpakant jade mine near Kachin State’s Hmaw His Zar village early yesterday morning, according to state officials and locals.

A soldier stands next to an object that fell from the sky in Hpakant township, Kachin State. Photo: Supplied / Ko Muang MyoA soldier stands next to an object that fell from the sky in Hpakant township, Kachin State. Photo: Supplied / Ko Muang Myo

Lone Khin villager Ko Maung Myo told The Myanmar Times yesterday that at 6am he heard what sounded like an explosion and felt the ground vibrate.

“Every local thought it was the explosion of heavy artillery,” he said. “I walked over to it and saw it was part of an engine.”

It struck near an abandoned jade mine between Hmaw His Zar village and Nat Ma Pyeit village in Hpakant township. The mysterious cylindrical object is about 12 feet (3.7 metres) long and 5 feet in diameter, said Ko Maung Myo, who took several photos of it.

“I think it was an engine because I found a diode and many copper wires at the tail of the body,” he said. “It also looks like a jet engine block.”

The air near the object smelled acrid, as though something was burning, he said.

State officials and witnesses said there were no injuries, though the material struck near two small tents where jade miners sleep.

“We were all afraid of that explosion,” Lone Khin villager Daw Ma Kyi told The Myanmar Times yesterday. “Initially, we thought it was a battle. The explosion made our houses shake. We saw the smoke from our village.”

Lone Khin village group head U Hla Aung confirmed the strange object’s landing but could not determine whether it was part of a jet or some other aerial craft.

“I do not know exactly what it is, because I am not a specialist,” he said. “Experts are planning to check it.”

The Kachin State government was also unable to immediately identify the object.

“Experts are there checking it,” said Kachin State government deputy director U Zaw Myo Nyunt. “They also assumed that it was part of some aircraft or rocket.”

A former executive engineer of the Department of Civil Aviation reviewed pictures of the object on his Facebook page yesterday, noting that it may not be an engine but a rocket booster used for launching satellites into space.