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Published on : Wednesday, June 14, 2017
An air force source requesting anonymity confirmed a navy search and rescue ship had found pieces of the plane.
“Now they have found pieces of the damaged plane in the sea 136 miles (218 km) away from Dawei city,” said Naing Lin Zaw, a tourism official in Myeik city, adding that the navy was still searching the sea.
“Communication was lost suddenly at about 1:35 pm (07:05 GMT) when it reached about 20 miles west of Dawei town,” the office of military commander-in-chief Min Aung Hlaing said in a statement.
Four naval ships and two air force planes have been sent to search for the plane, which was flying between the southern city of Myeik and Yangon at more than 18,000 feet when it went missing.
Dawei is a port town an hour’s flight south of Yangon, Myanmar’s commercial capital.
The officer said 90 passengers — servicemen from Myeik air force command and family members — were on board as well as 14 crew members.
“We think it was a technical failure. Weather is fine there,” an airport source told AFP, asking not to be named, adding there was no news of the plane so far.
Myanmar’s military fleet has a chequered recent history of plane crashes.
The missing plane is a Y-8F-200 four-engine turboprop, a Chinese-made model still commonly used by Myanmar’s military for transporting cargo.
The former military junta bought many of the aircraft from Myanmar’s giant neighbour during their 50 years of isolated rule, when they were squeezed by Western sanctions.
A former executive at Myanmar’s aviation ministry said it was one of China’s most popular military and civilian transport aircraft.
A surge in demand for air travel as Myanmar opens up has stretched the impoverished country’s aviation infrastructure, in particular in remote airports.