Myanmar plane: Debris and bodies found after search

Image source, Ye Aung Thu
Image caption,
So far, the bodies of mainly women and children have been found

The Burmese army says debris and bodies have been found after a military plane went missing with 122 people on board.

Dispersed wreckage was found in the Andaman Sea, the military said in a statement on its Facebook page.

The aircraft, a Y-8 transporter made in China, was carrying 14 crew. Most of the passengers were military personnel and family members, including children.

The plane was flying from Myeik to Yangon and the debris was found in the sea off the coastal town of Dawei.

Communication with the flight was lost on Wednesday half an hour into the short routine trip.

According to the military, by mid-afternoon on Thursday search teams had recovered 29 bodies - 20 women, eight children and one man.

A wheel, several life jackets and some luggage were found earlier.

Should everyone on board have died in the crash, the death toll would make it among the country's worst aviation disasters, says the BBC's Myanmar correspondent Jonah Fisher.

The reason for the crash remains unclear. There has so far been no report of a mayday call and the dispersed nature of the wreckage suggests it could have broken up in mid air.

Although it is monsoon season in Myanmar, there were no reports of bad weather at that time.

The plane was purchased from China in March last year and had logged 809 flying hours, according to the military.

Myanmar has seen a number of aircraft incidents in recent years.

In February 2016, the five-member crew of an air force plane died when the aircraft crashed in the capital of Nay Pyi Taw. A few months later, three officers were killed when a military helicopter crashed in central Myanmar.

An Air Bagan commercial aircraft made an emergency landing in 2012 and burst into flames, killing two people.

Image source, AFP
Image caption,
File photo of a Myanmar Air Force Y-8 aircraft