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- Vietnam 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 13-15 nautical miles to the south west of Bach Long Vi Island
- Vietnam’s Vice Defense Minister Nguyen Chi Vinh called on China to immediately provide Vietnam any information they might obtain about objects suspectedly coming from Vietnamese missing aircraft and pilots.
- China has deployed NANHAIJIU 101 rescue ship to help with the search.
Marine police have recovered the CASA debris, a shoe, a backpack with personal belongings and an emergency kit.
Four experts from Vietnam's air force have confirmed which parts of the plane have been found. This forms the basis to investigate what caused the crash.
A shoe's been found among the debris.
A broken window.
Lieutenant-General Phan Van Giang, Chief of General Staff at Vietnam People's Army has reached the area where the CASA plane lost contact. However, Giang has not revealed any information about the crew members.
Deputy Prime Minister Trinh Dinh Dung said from the Steering Committee for Search and Rescue of the CASA plane in Hai Phong: "We have to find the crew members at all costs."
Lieutenant-General Phan Van Giang, Chief of General Staff at Vietnam People's Army has boarded a marine police vessel heading to Bach Long Vi Island to oversee the search and rescue for Su-30 fighter jet Tran Quang Khai and the crew of CASA-212.
On the crashed CASA, there were six officers and three soldiers. Colonel Le Kiem Toan, Chief of Air Force Brigade 918 is the captain of the CASA plane.
According to a VnExpress source, Colonel Le Kiem Toan, used to be part of the search operation for Malaysia Airlines' MH 370 plane which went missing on March 8, 2014 when it was en route to Beijing from Kuala Lumpur.
China is actively working with Vietnam in the search for the crashed CASA.
A bag recovered by the search and rescue team. Photo by VnExpress/The Toan
A source from Ministry of Defense said that there are two challenges faced by the CASA search and rescue operation. First, the area where Vietnam lost contact with the CASA plane is east of the Tonkin Gulf delimitation. Second, at the time of the crash, the weather suddenly worsened.
A frontal command has been set up at the High Command of Vietnam People's Navy (Hai Phong City). Lieutenant-General Phan Van Giang, Chief of General Staff at Vietnam People's Army is directly in charge of the search and rescue operation for the CASA plane.
Currently over 1,500 people are searching for the missing CASA plane, including 764 marine police officers and 800 fishermen. There are 184 vehicles participating in the operation, including three Mi171 and two EC 155 planes and 155 vessels.
Maritime Rescue Center has deployed three SAR ships for the search. They are equipped with thermographic cameras which can search for objects during day and night, even under bad weather conditions.
Following the request by Vietnam Coordination Center for Maritime Search and Rescue, China has deployed NANHAIJIU 101 rescue ship to help with the search for the CASA plane. NANHAIJIU 101 is under the command of SAR 273 marine search and reascue vessel.
CASA debris. Photo by VnExpress/The Toan
Debris has been found 13-15 nautical miles to the south west of Bạch Long Vy Island. Photo by: VnExpress/The Toan
CASA-212 crew before the crash.
The search team has managed to recover some debris from the CASA plane 13-15 nautical miles to the south west of Bach Long Vi Island. A tyre, belongings, life jackets and an equipment bag have also been found.
Tyre belonging to the crashed CASA-212. Photo by Vietnam People's Army
8:30 a.m., June 17
At 7 a.m. this morning, Major General Nguyen Quang Dam, Coast Guard Commander, said the rescue team has neither approached the location of the plane crash nor found the missing CASA plane crew around Bach Long Vi Island area (Hai Phong).
"The initial cause has been determined as bad weather, which prompted the crew to ask to descend, followed which the plane crashed," said Dam.
9:30 p.m., June 16
Vietnam’s Vice Defense Minister Nguyen Chi Vinh met with Chinese Ambassador to Vietnam Hong Xiaoyong, according to Vietnam News Agency Friday.
Vinh called on China to immediately provide Vietnam any information they might obtain about objects suspectedly coming from Vietnamese missing aircraft and pilots. He also asked China to create favorable conditions for Vietnamese airplanes, vessels and other search and rescue forces to expand their operations to the east of the delimitation in the Gulf of Tonkin.
Vietnam Coast Guard and other search and rescue forces found some debris possibly from the missing CASA in the waters south west of Vietnam’s Bach Long Vi Island, near the delimitation between Vietnam and China in the Gulf of Tonkin, VNA said.
The sea is 60-70 meters deep at the crash location.
Also on Thursday, Lieutenant General Phan Van Giang, Chief of General Staff of the Ministry of National Defense, held an urgent meeting with the navy, coast guard, border guard and other relevant defense forces in Hai Phong. A search and rescue command was established at the headquarter of the Vietnam People’s Navy in the northern city.
Vietnam's CASA aircraft. Photo by VnExpress/Quoc Thang
Vietnam lost contact with a CASA maritime reconnaissance aircraft of the Vietnam Coast Guard with nine people on board in the waters off the coast of the northern city of Hai Phong on Thursday when it was out searching for the missing Su-30MK2 fighter pilot Tran Quang Khai.
Taking into account the latest incident, the country is at the same time struggling to search for two missing aircraft, the CASA-212-40 and the Su-30MK2, and 10 people with nine on the European-made CASA and pilot Tran Quang Khai on the Russian-made fighter jet.