Myanmar army plane crashes in Mizoram

Aizawl, Jan 23 (UNI) A Myanmar army plane crashed at the Lengpui airport on the outskirts of Mizoram’s capital Aizawl on Tuesday morning, injuring eight people on board, officials said.

The plane was supposed to airlift Myanmar soldiers whose camps were overrun by rebels and are taking shelter in Mizoram.

No one died in the mishap, officials said.

Airport officials expressed the hope that normal flights will resume at the Lengpui airport on Wednesday.

The officials said that the Myanmar Air Force transport plane was the same that had airlifted 184 Myanmar army personnel on Monday and returned from Sittwe town in Myanmar’s Rakhine state to airlift the remaining 92 soldiers.

Officials, quoting eyewitnesses, said that the Shaanxi Y-8 aircraft landed at the Lengpui airport runway and ran extremely fast before suddenly turning and going off the runway.

Of the 14 crew members and the pilot, 8 sustained injuries and were brought to the Primary Health Centre (PHC) at Lengpui village. After learning that the X-ray machine at the PHC was not properly working, they were brought to Aizawl.

Three flights, two from Guwahati to Aizawl and one from Delhi to Aizawl, were cancelled due to the mishap, the officials said. The 92 Myanmar soldiers were also transported back to Zokhawsang, near Aizawl, the proposed battalion headquarters of the Assam Rifles, once they were shifted out of central Aizawl city.

The ill-fated Myanmar air force transport plane was sent to Aizawl for the seventh sortie to evacuate Myanmar army personnel, who fled to southern Mizoram’s Lawngtlai district after their camps were overran and captured by Myanmar’s largest ethnic armed organization, Arakan Army (AA) militants, during January.

The first and second sorties, airlifting 151 Myanmar soldiers by a Myanmar Air Force transport plane coming from Mandalay and landing at Lengpui airport, were undertaken on January 2. The soldiers were flown to Sittwe port town in Myanmar’s Rakhine state. It was followed by another two sorties, which evacuated 104 soldiers from Lengpui airport to Sittwe on January 9.

While the two sorties carrying 92 Myanmar soldiers each were successfully conducted on Monday, the proposed single flight to airlift the remaining 92 soldiers went awry on Tuesday.

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