Twelve people were killed yesterday when a Burmese military plane crashed in a central region of the country, a junta spokesman said.
The aircraft, carrying six crew and eight passengers, including an unnamed senior monk, left the capital, Naypyidaw, yesterday morning for Pyin Oo Lwin, a town in the central region of Mandalay.
“It lost communications when it was 400m away from a steel factory near the airport,” at Pyin Oo Lwin, junta spokesman Zaw Min Tun said in a statement that attributed the crash to “bad weather.”
A team was able to rescue a boy and a sergeant, who had been sent to a nearby military hospital.
Emergency workers were still at the scene, he added.
A picture posted on social media showed the twisted body of a plane lying in a field.
Pyin Oo Lwin is home to the Defence Services Academy, where the junta’s top brass are trained. Burmese junta leader Senior General Min Aung Hlaing is a graduate.
Before the Feb. 1 coup, in which the military ousted civilian leader Burmese State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi from power, plane crashes were common in Myanmar due to its underdeveloped aviation sector.
The country’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 “defense forces,” while some of Myanmar’s ethnic rebel armies have stepped up 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.
Myanmar’s monsoon season has caused problems for commercial and military flights in the past.
A military plane crashed into the Andaman Sea in 2017, killing all 122 people on board in one of the deadliest aviation accidents in the country’s history. Authorities blamed bad weather.
In 2015, an Air Bagan passenger plane veered off the runway amid bad weather and heavy rain. A passenger and a person on the ground were killed.
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