Myanmar military jet crashes after 'technical failure'

YANGON (AFP) - A Myanmar military jet crashed Wednesday (Feb 16) morning after a "technical failure" while flying in the country's north, the junta's information team said in a statement.

The jet, flying from Tada-U air force base near Mandalay, "lost contact about 10.43am this morning (12.13pm Singapore time)," and later crashed in Sagaing region, the statement said, adding search and rescue operations for the pilot had begun.

The pilot had been flying a non-combat training mission, the statement added.

Myanmar's junta has regularly called in airstrikes while battling "people's defence forces" - armed groups that have sprung up to fight the military government - in several regions, including Sagaing.

Plane crashes are common in Myanmar, which has an underdeveloped aviation sector, and the country's monsoon season has caused problems for commercial and military flights in the past.

In June, 12 people were killed when a Myanmar military plane carrying a senior monk and several donors to a religious event crashed in a central region of the country.

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.

And in 2015, an Air Bagan passenger plane veered off the runway in heavy rain. A passenger and one person on the ground were killed.

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