Body of Su-30 jet pilot brought ashore

By Hai Binh, Hoang Le   June 18, 2016 | 11:33 am GMT+7

A border guard vessel has brought ashore the body of Su-30MK2 fighter pilot Tran Quang Khai at 5 a.m. this morning after a four day search off Vietnam's central coast.

Strong winds have prolonged the journey to bring Khai’s body ashore, where throughout the night, fellow soldiers and locals waited for his return.

At 3:30 a.m. on June 18, ten army cars carrying soldiers, officers and Khai’s family arrived at Port Squadron 2. At the port, soldiers lined up facing the sea awaiting Khai.

By 5 a.m., the vessel carrying Khai’s body arrived after a 10 hour journey. Colonel Duong Minh Hien, Deputy Commander of Nghe An Province Military Command said Khai’s body has been transferred to the Military Zone 4 Hospital in Vinh City (Nghe An central province), after which, he will be returned to Hanoi.

Body of Lieutenant Colonel Tran Quang Khai brought ashore.

Body of Lieutenant Colonel Tran Quang Khai brought ashore.

Lieutenant Colonel Tran Quang Khai, 43, was from the northern province of Bac Giang. He was the tenth child in a family of 11 and the only one to enter the army.

According to his family, Khai was married three years ago to a teacher from Bac Giang, with whom he had a three year old daughter. The couple was planning to build a house this year. 

Khai's body transferred to a car. Photo by VnExpress/Hai Binh

Khai's body transferred to a car. Photo by VnExpress/Hai Binh

The body of Lieutenant Colonel Tran Quang Khai was discovered by fishermen yesterday at around 6 p.m. about 33 nautical miles from Thanh Hoa central province’s Hon Me Island. One hour later, his body was transferred to a vessel from Nghe An Province’s Border Guard. Major Nguyen Thanh Thuy, Commander in chief of a battalion from Thanh Hoa’s Hon Mat Island, said the man died about three days ago.

His co-pilot Major Nguyen Huu Cuong was rescued by a fishing boat on June 15, a day after the plane went down.

Vietnam People's Air Defense - Air Force lost contact with the fighter jet flying offshore Nghe An on Tuesday morning. The jet departed from Tho Xuan Airport in Thanh Hoa Province for routine training but disappeared from radar at 7:29 a.m the same day.

Vietnam also lost contact with CASA-212, maritime reconnaissance aircraft, of the Vietnam Coast Guard yesterday noon while it was searching for the missing Su-30 fighter jet and its pilot Tran Quang Khai.

Nine crew members of CASA-212 remain missing.

The search team have found CASA debris yesterday, 13-15 nautical miles to the south west of Bach Long Vi Island.

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