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February 27, 2018

One more body found, families mourn as plane search continues

Divers from the Tatmadaw search for bodies and the missing plane in the Andaman Sea yesterday in rough weather.

With one more body discovered yesterday, the total number of retrieved bodies from a military transport plane crash reached 32.
Amid severe weather in the Andaman Sea, the search for the plane that went missing with 122 people on board entered a third day yesterday with the help of eight navy ships, 20 local fishing boats and multiple sonar systems.
Out of 30 bodies pulled from the sea by Thursday evening, 16 were able to be identified after forensic examinations at Dawei Hospital. The bodies were then cremated in the presence of the relatives, according to the Ministry of Defence.
More than 100 relatives and friends wept quietly and others offered prayers to commemorate the identified victims, who were cremated yesterday in Dawei on a rainy afternoon.
“What we found now is my granddaughter. Her father and mother’s bodies are not found yet,” said one of the mourners, Ma Myat Thaw May, her voice trembling as she spoke of the 7-month-old girl.
Commander-in-Chief (Air) General Khin Aung Myint and senior military officers consoled the relatives of the victims at the Mingaladon Airbase in Yangon.
Donors presented cash assistance yesterday reaching a total of more than K568 million. The money will be provided to the families of the victims, said the statement.
With 90 passengers and crew still unaccounted for, scores of soldiers were on standby yesterday to help if more bodies needed to be carried ashore in the fishing village of Sanlan, about 600 km (372 miles) from Myanmar’s largest city, Yangon.
Twenty-three adults and eight children made up the tally of bodies searchers have pulled from the Andaman Sea since Wednesday, the military said on its official page on social media site Facebook. See page-2
“We have not received any information about survivors,” said Phyu Phyu Win, a regional social welfare and relief official. “Hopefully someone would survive.”
Soldiers, family members and crew were on board the weekly flight from several coastal towns to Yangon when it went missing.
Contact with the Chinese-made Y-8-200F transport plane was lost 29 minutes after takeoff, while at a height of 18,000 feet (5,485 metres), about 43 miles (70 km) west of Dawei, the military said.
An aircraft wheel, two life jackets and bags with clothes – believed to be from the missing plane – were found on Thursday. Some oil patches were also spotted, the military said.
The cause of the incident has yet to be confirmed.
State-owned China National Aero-Technology Import & Export Corporation, maker of the plane, said it would assist Myanmar authorities in investigating the crash.
Survivors are unlikely more than 72 hours after contact with the plane was lost, despite warm sea temperatures, experts have said.
Many bodies fragmented into several pieces and no victim wearing a life jacket has yet been recovered, a member of the emergency team said.


Reuters and GNLM


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