Heavy rains fall as ships, locals search Myanmar crash site

Australian University Pinpoints Crash Site As Malaysia Airlines Plane Marks Third Disappearance Anniversary The final destination of the plane was Yangon, but went missing when contact was lost about 20 miles west of Dawei above the Andaman Sea.

A soldier braves the monsoon rain as bodies recovered by fishing vessels in the waters off San Hlan village, in Laung Lone township, southern Myanmar, Thursday, June 8, 2017.

Military officials say the missing transport plane feared lost in the Andaman Sea had 15 children among the passengers on board.

The search for survivors will continue, Myanmar's military said, according to Reuters.

Hundreds of people gathered solemnly on a beach in southern Myanmar on Thursday awaiting news of their loved ones as rescuers worked to pull bodies from the Andaman Sea after a military plane crashed with more than 120 people on board.

An aircraft wheel, two life jackets and some bags with clothes - believed to be from the missing plane - were found on Thursday. The bodies, fetched from the sea by large fishing vessels and navy ships, were moved to smaller boats that hauled them into shallow water at the beach, where soldiers put the body bags on stretchers and carried them to waiting trucks.

A post on a military Facebook page said the bodies of 31 people - 21 women, eight children and two men - had been recovered, as well as luggage and airplane parts.

It was not clear if any more bodies were recovered Friday in the rough weather conditions.

The commander-in-chief's office said 10 corpses, including five children, had been retrieved from the sea since a navy boat discovered wreckage from the plane early Thursday off the coastline near Dawei town.

The cause of the accident is still unknown.

More than half of the passengers were from military families, including 15 children, along with 35 soldiers and 14 crew members, the army chief's office said in a statement.

"We haven't seen them for a while and that's why we asked his family to come visit us here", she said.

"We have found the plane and some dead bodies this morning about 8:25am [0155 GMT]", a spokesman for the military's information team told AFP.

The aircraft, bought in March 2016, had a total of 809 flying hours.

The military said on Friday it had identified 16 of the dead so far.

The military has described the captain as a "seasoned" pilot with more than 3,000 hours flying experience.

It is not unusual for such flights to carry civilians to offset transportation costs for military families stationed in the somewhat remote south. Five military were killed in February a year ago when an air force aircraft crashed in the capital, Naypyitaw, media reported.

  • Leroy Wright