YANGON: Twelve 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 junta spokesman said on Thursday.

The plane, which was carrying six crew and eight passengers, crashed shortly before it was due to land in the city of Pyin Oo Lwin, spokesman Zaw Min Tun said in a statement, blaming “bad weather”.

Footage broadcast by local media showed wreckage strewn around the twisted body of a plane lying on open ground near overhead pylons, and a small plume of smoke billowing upwards.

Emergency responders were able to rescue a boy and a sergeant from the plane’s crew, the statement said, adding they had been sent to a nearby military hospital for treatment.

Kavisara, a prominent monk from the Zay Kone monastery near the capital Naypyidaw, and seven donors had been on board, travelling to Pyin Oo Lwin to open a religious event, it said.

Pyin Oo Lwin is home to the Defence Services Academy, where the military’s top brass are trained. Junta leader Min Aung Hlaing is a graduate.

He visited the monastery and paid homage to its chief monk on February 2, state media reported, a day after ousting civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi from power in a coup.

Published in Dawn, June 11th, 2021

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