Bodies and debris have been found in the water after a Myanmar military plane vanished over the Andaman Sea with 122 soldiers, family members and crew on board, the military said in a statement, according to Guardian.
Three bodies – those of two adults and a child – were found by a navy ship 35km from the southern costal town of Launglon, the military said.
A plane wheel that was believed to be from the Chinese-made Y-8-200F transport plane was also found, the statement said.
The military transport plane had been flying from southern Myanmar to Yangon when contact was lost on Wednesday afternoon. There were fears it may have crashed into the ocean, since its route would have taken it over the Andaman Sea.
General Myat Min Oo earlier said the Chinese-made Y-8 turboprop aircraft was carrying 106 passengers – mostly families of military personnel – and 14 crew members when it went missing on Wednesday afternoon. It is not unusual for such flights to carry civilians to offset transportation costs for military families stationed in the somewhat remote south.
“The military plane went missing and lost contact after it took off from Myeik, and now the military has started a sea and air search with naval ships and military aircraft and is preparing for rescue operations,” he said.
It was raining at the time, but not heavily, he said.
The commander’s office initially said six navy ships and three military aircraft were searching for the plane late on Wednesday. By Thursday morning, it had deployed nine naval ships, five army aircraft and three helicopters.
Myeik, also known as Mergui, is a city in south-east Myanmar on the Andaman coast.
An announcement posted on the Facebook page of the commander of the military, Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, said the flight took off from Myeik at 1.06pm and contact was lost at 1.35pm, when it was believed to be about 32km west of Dawei, formerly known as Tavoy.
The military announcement said Myanmar received the Y-8 plane in March last year, and since then it had logged 809 flying hours.
In a second announcement on Wednesday night, the commander’s office said six navy ships and three military aircraft were searching for the missing plane.