Rescue teams have reportedly found debris from a Myanmar transport plane that vanished en route to the southern city of Yangon. The Chinese-made aircraft was carrying over 100 people, mostly soldiers and their families.
Authorities deployed navy ships and rescue planes to search for the missing aircraft on Wednesday, after the plane broke radio contact while flying over Andaman Sea. At the time, the Shaanxi Y-8 turboprop transporter was flying at over 18,000 feet (around 5,500 meters), towards Myanmar’s financial capital of Yangon.
According to the military, the transport plane was carrying 14 crew members and 106 passengers, mostly soldiers and their families. Over a dozen children were believed to have been on board.
“Communication was lost suddenly” at about 1:35 p.m. local time, the office of military commander-in-chief Min Aung Hlaing said in a statement.
The weather at take off had been “normal” with good visibility when the plane left the airport at the coastal town in Myeik roughly half an hour earlier, aviation official Kyaw Kyaw They said.
Rescue teams have found “debris” believed to be from the plane while searching the sea, an air force source and tourism official in Myeik told the AFP news agency.
The Chinese turboprop plane was delivered to Myanmar in March last year, according to the army. The military junta often uses these models to transport cargo. Its leadership often bought Chinese-made aircraft to bolster fleet during decades of Western sanctions.