Four killed as Myanmar air force plane crashes after take-off

The propeller plane, which was carrying five crew members and believed to be on a routine patrol, went down near the airport in Naypyitaw yesterday.
The propeller plane, which was carrying five crew members and believed to be on a routine patrol, went down near the airport in Naypyitaw yesterday.PHOTO: EUROPEAN PRESSPHOTO AGENCY

NAYPYITAW • At least four Myanmar military personnel were killed after a small air force propeller plane crashed shortly after take-off in the capital, Naypyitaw, yesterday, official sources said.

The Beechcraft passenger plane, which was carrying five crew members and believed to be on a routine patrol, went down in agricultural land near the airport.

Hundreds of people gathered in the area as officials raced to extinguish the fire and sift through the smouldering wreckage, according to an AFP reporter at the scene.

"Four people were killed and we think one is alive," a senior police official in the capital told AFP, asking not to be named because the incident involved a military aircraft.

The survivor was taken to a nearby military hospital.

The plane burst into flames soon after leaving the runway, according to an airport official. It is not known what caused the fire.

Myanmar has a busy aviation sector, partly to compensate for the poor road and rail infrastructure.

While news of military air crashes is relatively rare, there have been several incidents involving commercial planes in recent years.

Last July, an Air Bagan ATR plane with 49 passengers skidded off the runway after landing in heavy rain at Yangon International Airport. One person was slightly injured.

Two Myanma Airways planes also skidded off the runway in separate incidents - one in the southern region of Taninthari in May 2013 and the other in eastern Shan State a month later. No one was hurt.

In December 2012, an Air Bagan plane crash-landed in thick fog and burst into flames in a field short of the runway at Heho airport.

A tour guide on board and a motorcyclist on the ground died.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, XINHUA

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 11, 2016, with the headline 'Four killed as Myanmar air force plane crashes after take-off'. Print Edition | Subscribe