Myanmar military plane carrying 122 people goes missing

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A military transport plane carrying 122 people has gone missing during a flight from southern Myanmar to the city of Yangon, the military says. The aircraft is believed to have gone down over the Andaman Sea.

The aircraft, a Chinese-made Shaanxi Y-8 plane, was flying from the southern city of Myeik to Yangon, the country’s largest city. It was carrying 108 soldiers and family members, including a number of children, as well as 14 crew members.

A statement from the army said the aircraft took off at about 1:06 p.m. local time on Wednesday and contact was lost about 29 minutes later, when the plane was flying over the Andaman Sea, about 70 kilometers (44 miles) west of Dawei, at an altitude of 18,000 feet (5.5 kilometers)

A search and rescue operation was launched involving aircraft and ships, but the plane remained missing as of early Thursday morning. The military denied reports on social media that wreckage – along with survivors – had been found.

It was not immediately known what may have caused Wednesday’s accident.

Myanmar’s worst aviation accident happened in October 1987 when a Burma Airways flight caught fire and crashed near the tourist town of Bagan, killing all 49 people on board. The plane was carrying at least 36 foreigners, including 14 Americans, 7 Swiss citizens, and 5 Britons.

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