Country’s military blames technical fault for crash of fighter jet

Aircraft down: Debris of the jet fighter that crashed in a field is seen among the smoke near Kyo Wun village in Magway region, Myanmar. — AP

A LOCAL fighter jet crashed and burned in the countryside of the central Magway region due to what was described as a technical fault during training manoeuvres, state television MRTV reported.

The crash took place shortly after noon on Thursday and the pilot was reported to have ejected from the plane and to have been safely rescued.

The TV report mentioned only one pilot, but training missions in Myanmar likely use MiG-29UB two-seater planes.

Myanmar’s military has lost at least four helicopters and three jet fighters since it seized power in February 2021 from the elected government of Aung San Suu Kyi, triggering a non-violent opposition that was met with deadly force.

The crisis has led to the growth of armed resistance and embroiled the country in a civil war. The military, which has launched offensives in various parts of the country, makes heavy use of air power, which cannot be effectively challenged by the resistance.

Airstrikes have driven thousands of people from their homes and caused an unknown number of civilian casualties.

Resistance forces have several times claimed to have downed military aircraft but their claims could not be confirmed.

The region of Magway where the crash took place, about 220km southwest of Mandalay, the country’s second-largest city, is a stronghold of the resistance but there was no fighting in the area at the time of the incident.

A resident from the village of Kyo Wun, who also asked not to be named to avoid arrest by the military, told The Associated Press the plane went down in a field in the western part of the village.

He said two pilots appeared to have ejected safely with parachutes.

He added that security forces tried to inspect the villagers’ mobile phones for any possible photos of the wreckage that appeared online. — AP

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