Myanmar's military said on Thursday that it has found debris and bodies of the military plane that went missing with 122 people, including 15 children, on board on Wednesday in the Andaman Sea.
It said in a statement that at least 10 bodies have been found in an area some 35 km (22 miles) from the southern coastal town of Launglon, include six adults and four children. The plane was flying from Myeik to Yangon and the debris was found in the sea off the coastal town of Dawei.
Apart from this, a plane wheel, two life jackets and some bags with clothes, which are believed to be from the missing Chinese-made Y-8-200F transport plane, were also found. The authorities said nine navy ships and three air force planes have been dispatched to search for the aircraft.
Earlier a military spokesman said the plane and the first three of the bodies were found at about 8.25 am (9:55am Singapore time).
The army chief's office said in a statement that more than half of the passengers were from military families, including 15 children, along with 35 soldiers and 14 crew members. "Some were on their way for medical checkups and to attend school," a spokesman from the military's information team told AFP.
Although there were no reports of stormy weather in the area at the time, there were fears that the aircraft may have crashed into the Andaman Sea. The commander-in-chief's office said the plane lost contact with air traffic control at 1:35 pm (3:05pm Singapore time) on Wednesday, about half an hour after takeoff.
The military named the captain of aircraft as Lieutenant Colonel Nyein Chan. Reports said he had more than 3,000 hours of flying experience. The plane was purchased in March 2016 and had a total of 809 flying hours.
Myanmar has seen a number of aircraft incidents in recent years. In February 2016, the five-member crew of an air force plane died when the aircraft crashed in the capital of Nay Pyi Taw. A few months later, three officers were killed when a military helicopter crashed in central Myanmar.
An Air Bagan commercial aircraft made an emergency landing in 2012 and burst into flames, killing two people.