Myanmar navy ship, fishermen find bodies in search for plane

SAN HLAN, Myanmar (AP) — Fishermen joined navy and air force personnel today in recovering bodies and aircraft parts from the sea off Myanmar, where a military plane carrying 122 people including 15 children crashed a day earlier, officials said.

The four-engine Chinese-made Y-8 turboprop aircraft had left Myeik, also known as Mergui, heading for Yangon on a route over the Andaman Sea. It was raining, but not heavily, at the time contact was lost with it at 1:35 p.m. Wednesday, when it was southwest of the city of Dawei, formerly known as Tavoy.

By nightfall today, the bodies of 31 people – 21 women, eight children and two men – had been recovered, said military spokesman Gen. Myat Min Oo. All of the bodies were taken to a military hospital in Dawei, which was visited by some of the victims' relatives.

One of them, Ma Mon, said her 32-year-old daughter Zin Wai Aung had been married to a military officer, but had gone on the flight without him.

"She went on the plane with her 3-month-old son. Both of them died," she said. "That was my beautiful grandson."

In many cases, the bodies were not recovered whole, an officer involved in the recovery operation said.

More than 1,000 people, including volunteers from dozens of community mutual aid societies with their vehicles, had gathered today on the beach at San Hlan village in Laung Lone township, which served as a landing point for recovery operations for the bodies.

The bodies, fetched from the sea and taken aboard large fishing vessels and navy ships, had been transferred to smaller boats which hauled them into shallow water at the beach, where soldiers put the body bags on stretchers and carried them to waiting trucks. The process had been delayed for several hours by heavy rain and choppy seas.

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