12 killed in Myanmar military plane crash

Agence France-Presse

Posted at Jun 10 2021 02:14 PM | Updated as of Jun 10 2021 05:09 PM

YANGON (UPDATED)- Twelve people were killed when a Myanmar military plane crashed in a central region of the country Thursday, a spokesman for the junta said.

The plane, which was carrying six crew and eight passengers, crashed near the city of Pyin Oo Lwin, the spokesperson said in a statement to journalists, blaming the cause on "bad weather".

"It lost communications when it was 400 meters (1,300 feet) away from a steel factory near the airport," Zaw Min Tun said in a statement.

A senior monk was among those on board, the statement said, adding a team had been able to rescue a boy and a sergeant, who had been sent to a nearby military hospital.

Emergency workers were still on the scene, it continued.

A picture posted on social media showed the twisted body of a plane lying in a field. 

Myanmar'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.

Pyin Oo Lwin is home to the Defence Services Academy, where the military's top brass are trained. 

Junta leader Min Aung Hlaing, who ousted civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi from power in the February 1 coup, is a graduate.

The military has sought to quell mass anti-junta 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. 

Plane crashes are common in Myanmar due to its underdeveloped aviation sector, and 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. 

And 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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