Desperate wait as bodies retrieved from plane wreck

2017-06-08 15:31


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Debris and bodies found following reports of Myanmar missing military plane

2017-06-08 14:55

Debris from a Myanmar missing military plane was has been found. Watch.WATCH

San Hlan - Hundreds of people gathered on a beach in southern Myanmar on Thursday 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.

Navy ships and air force planes have been scouring the waves since Wednesday afternoon, when the aircraft disappeared en route from the southern city of Myeik to the commercial hub of Yangon.

Difficult for boats

By mid-afternoon the commander-in-chief's office said 29 bodies - 20 women, one man and eight children - had been retrieved from the sea after a navy vessel discovered wreckage from the plane off the coastline near Dawei town.

Hundreds of locals, relatives and NGO workers clasping umbrellas watched as a fishing boat laden with the dead pulled up to San Hlan beach, where they were unloaded by NGO workers and uniformed soldiers wearing masks and gloves.

A military officer said strong currents has made it difficult for boats to reach the shore, so many of the bodies may have to be airlifted to land.

The Chinese-made Shaanxi Y8 plane was carrying a total of 122 people when it disappeared during a routine flight on Wednesday afternoon, according to the army chief.

More than half of the passengers were from military families, including 15 children, along with 35 soldiers and 14 crew, the army chief's office said in a statement.

Some were travelling for medical check-ups or to study in Yangon.

No major stormns

The office of State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi posted a statement expressing condolences to the victims.

India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi offered to help in recovery efforts, while the US embassy sent sympathies to the families of those lost in the "tragedy".

It is monsoon season in Myanmar, but there were no major storms reported along the aircraft's flight path on Wednesday afternoon.

The military said the plane was flying at over 5 486m whenit lost contact with air traffic control about half an hour after takeoff.

Read more on:    aung san suu kyi  |  myanmar  |  air travel  |  accidents

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