UPDATE 1 – Military plane carrying 122 people crashes off Myanmar

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A military transport plane carrying 122 people has crashed into the Andaman Sea during a flight from southern Myanmar to the city of Yangon, the military says. Debris and bodies were recovered about 19 hours later.

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)

Aircraft and ships searched the waters for nearly 19 hours until debris and bodies were found just after 8 a.m. on Thursday. A spokesman for the army said debris, life-jackets, and several bodies – including of at least one child – were found.

There were no immediate signs that any of those on board may have survived, but a search and rescue operation was continuing on Thursday morning. The aircraft was carrying 35 service members, 73 relatives including 15 children, and 14 crew members.

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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