Bodies found in search for airwristband controllerplane
YANGON, Myanmar - Bodies and aircraft debris were found in the sea off the southern coast of Myanmar on Thursday by ships searching for a military plane that went missing with 122 soldiers, family members and crew on board.
Twenty-nine bodies of adults and children were found about 35 kilometers off the southern coastal town of Launglon by navy and civilian ships, said a military officer involved in the recovery operation.
The search by nine navy ships, five military planes and two helicopters, would continue with help from civilian boats, the military said.
China expressed deep sympathy and condolences to the tragedy, and is willing to provide necessary assistance if required, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said on Thursday.
"China is willing to provide necessary assistance, according to the requirements of the Myanmar government," she said.
The Y-8F-200W transport plane, vanished on Wednesday after taking off from the coastal town of Myeik on a weekly flight to the country"s largest city, Yangon.
The multipurpose aircraft lost contact 29 minutes after takeoff while flying at 5,500 meters over the Andaman Sea, about 70 km west of the town of Dawei, the Myanmar military said.
The maker of the transport plane, China National Aero-Technology Import and Export Corporation, said in a statement that it will fully assist Myanmar in the investigation.
Searchers also found an aircraft wheel and two life jackets on Thursday. Some bags with clothes - believed to be from the missing plane - were found earlier.
Some patches of oil were spotted 30 km from Dawei, the military said.
More than 40 ambulances and scores of medics and emergency staff were heading to the fishing town of Sanlan where boats carrying bodies were set to arrive around midday, said Hla Thein, a member of a hospital emergency team.
The plane was carrying 108 soldiers and their family members as well as a crew of 14. The military said the 108 passengers included 15 children, 58 adults and 35 soldiers.
It is the rainy season in Myanmar but a civil aviation official said the weather had been "normal" with good visibility when the plane took off.
The aircraft was bought in March last year and had a total of 809 flying hours. It was carrying 2.4 tons of supplies, the military said.
Aircraft accidents are not uncommon in Myanmar.
A military helicopter crashed last June in central Myanmar, killing three military personnel on board. Five military personnel were killed in February last year when an air force aircraft crashed in the capital, Naypyitaw, media reported.
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