Search for missing aircraft, pilots expanded to eight localities

By Vo Van Thanh, Xuan Hoa   June 20, 2016 | 08:02 am GMT+7

Vietnam has expanded the search zone for the two missing aircraft and nine military personnel from the central province of Ha Tinh to Quang Ninh northern province despite adverse weather conditions.

The National Steering Committee for Search and Rescue in an urgent letter on June 19 asked committees for natural disaster prevention and control, search and rescue in seven coastal provinces and a city to step up efforts to search for the two missing aircraft and nine military personnel. The search, in Ha Tinh, Nghe An, Thanh Hoa, Ninh Binh, Nam Dinh, Thai Binh, Quang Ninh and Hai Phong, must include both the surface and the seabed.

Owners of the vessels and other vehicles operating in the waters near Hai Phong City’s Bach Long Vy Island are told to report any finding of signs or objects relating to the missing Su-30MK2 and CASA 212 to the military and civil search and rescue forces in the region.

A helicopter during the search. Photo by VnExpress/Hai Binh

A helicopter during the search. Photo by VnExpress/Hai Binh

On Sunday, the search and rescue forces from the Ministry of Defense, in collaboration with local fishermen, carried out search on an area of around 200 square nautical miles. Big waves in the search zone have affected their operations.

On June 14, the Su-30MK2 Vietnamese fighter jet crashed offshore the central province of Nghe An. The jet had two pilots on board, one of whom, Major Nguyen Huu Cuong, was rescued, but the other, Lieutenant Colonel Tran Quang Khai, 43, was found dead at sea and has been brought ashore. A CASA-212-40 with nine people on board went missing on June 16 while searching for the Su-30MK2.

Vietnam’s Third Military Region, the People’s Navy, the Border Guard, Coast Guard and fishing boats have been mobilized in the search and rescue efforts.

China has also sent eight ships and two helicopterss to help Vietnam find the missing CASA coast guard plane.

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