Myanmar plane for repatriation of soldiers crashes at Mizoram airport, 8 injured

Myanmar military plane crashes in Mizoram, 8 injured
Myanmar military plane crashes in Mizoram, 8 injured
Myanmar military plane crashes in Mizoram, 8 injured

Aizawl | Eight people were injured as a Myanmar military plane crashed at the Lengpui airport on the outskirts of Aizawl on Tuesday, officials said.

The small plane had arrived here to take back the Myanmarese soldiers who crossed over to India last week, following gunfights with an ethnic insurgent group, they said.

There were 14 people on the plane, including the pilot, and eight of them were injured in the accident, which happened around 10.20 am, officials said.

While landing, it overshot the tabletop runway of the Mizoram government-run airport and crashed. The impact of the accident was such that the plane split into two, they said.

The injured persons were taken to the Lengpui primary health centre for treatment, they added.

The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has ordered an investigation into the crash, a state government official said.

"All incoming flights have been diverted. When flight services, incoming and outgoing, will resume is yet to be known. Hoping all passengers would be able to either fly in or fly out as soon as possible, especially people with medical emergency," she said.

The airport was immediately shut after the accident, another official said.

A total of 276 Myanmarese soldiers had entered Mizoram last week, and of them, 184 were sent back on Monday, officials said.

The remaining 92 soldiers were to be repatriated on Tuesday, they said.

The plane was supposed to take them to Sittwe in Myanmar's Rakhine state.

The 276 Myanmarese soldiers entered Bandukbanga village, located at the India-Myanmar-Bangladesh trijunction, in southernmost Mizoram's Lawngtlai district with arms and ammunition on 17 January and approached the Assam Rifles.

They fled to Mizoram after their camp was overrun and captured by 'Arakan Army' fighters.

The Myanmarese soldiers were taken to the nearby Assam Rifles camp at Parva, and later the majority of them were shifted to Lunglei, the official said.

They have been under the supervision of the Assam Rifles since then, the official said.

These 276 soldiers were brought to Aizawl over Saturday and Sunday, for their transport to Myanmar from the Lengpui airport.

The group, headed by a colonel, has 36 officers and 240 lower-rank personnel, officials said.

With the 276 soldiers who entered last week, as many as 635 Myanmar soldiers have fled to Mizoram after their camps were overrun and captured by ethnic armed organisations and pro-democratic forces over the last few months, officials said.

In November, 104 Myanmar army personnel were sent to the border town of Moreh in Manipur from different places in Mizoram by Indian Air Force (IAF) helicopters, and then repatriated. Earlier this month, 255 soldiers were sent back via the Lengpui airport by Myanmar air force planes.

Mizoram shares a 510-km-long border with Myanmar.

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