Myanmar military plane crash kills 12 - GulfToday

Myanmar military plane crash kills 12


Locals stand beside the wreckage of a Myanmar Air Force Beechcraft 1900 that crashed in Pyin Oo Lwin, Myanmar. AP

Gulf Today Report

A well-known senior Buddhist monk was among at least 12 people who died when a plane belonging to Myanmar’s military crashed Thursday in the country’s central Mandalay region, state media reported.

Army-run Myawaddy TV said a boy was one of two survivors on the flight from the capital, Naypyitaw, to Pyin Oo Lwin, also known as Maymyo. The other person taken to a hospital was reported to be a member of the military, but several other unconfirmed reports said he later died, according to The Associated Press.


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The plane was carrying six military personnel in addition to two monks and six devotees to Pyin Oo Lwin for a ceremony to lay the foundation for a new monastery, the report said.

The senior monk who died was the abbot of Zay Kone Monastery in Pyinmana, a satellite town of Naypyitaw. He was believed to be in his nineties and hosted the head of the country’s current ruling junta, Senior Gen. Min Aung Hlaing, for a visit on Feb. 2, the day after the army ousted the country’s elected leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, and seized power.

The military has sought to quell mass protests with bloody crackdowns.

The crash occurred when the plane was making its landing approach to Pyin Oo Lwin’s Anisakhan airport, reported Myawaddy TV, which said there was bad weather at the time.

The plane that crashed appeared from photos to be a Beechcraft 1900, a model used by the air force. Five people died in February 2016 when an air force Beechcraft 1900D crashed shortly after takeoff from Naypyitaw.

Separately, a senior police official told AFP that at least seven people -- including two senior monks -- had died in the crash.

The Myanmar military ousted civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi from power.

"Another woman is in critical condition," he said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Before the February 1 coup, in which the military ousted civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi from power, plane crashes were common in Myanmar due to its underdeveloped aviation sector.

Myanmar's Buddhist monkhood led an earlier struggle against military rule but is split on the coup that ended the country's nascent democracy, with some prominent religious leaders defending the new junta.

The military has sought to quell mass protests with bloody crackdowns that have killed more than 800 civilians, according to a local monitoring group.

This has prompted civilians in some townships to form "defence forces", while some of Myanmar's ethnic rebel armies have stepped offensives against the military.

Last month, the Kachin Independence Army -- an ethnic rebel group that has waged a decades-long insurgency against the military -- downed an army helicopter during fierce clashes.


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