A navy ship found bodies and aircraft parts in the seas off Myanmar while searching Thursday morning for a military transport plane carrying 120 people, a spokesman says. The Chinese-made Y-8 turboprop aircraft disappeared Wednesday afternoon about a half-hour after leaving Myeik, also known as Mergui, for Yangon on a route that would have taken it over the Andaman Sea, the AP reports. It was raining, but not heavily, at the time. Nine naval ships, five army aircraft, and three helicopters were searching for the plane Thursday morning, a military spokesman says. Gen. Myat Min Oo says the ship found two life jackets, three bodies, and a tire that was part of an aircraft wheel. The bodies were of a man, a woman, and a child.
The plane carried 106 passengers—mostly families of military personnel—and 14 crew members. Fifteen of the passengers were children. It is not unusual for such flights to carry civilians to offset transportation costs for military families stationed in the country's remote south. The military says Myanmar received the Y-8 plane in March of last year, and since then it had logged 809 flying hours. The BBC reports there was no mayday call from the aircraft and while the cause of what is believed to be one of the deadliest plane crashes in Myanmar's history is still unclear, the dispersed debris suggests the plane broke up in mid-air.