Search continues for Myanmar pilot, after two of crew are found


Bangkok (AFP) - Rescuers were on October 8 searching for an injured helicopter pilot in remote northern Myanmar after finding two other missing crew members alive, officials said, clarifying initial reports that all were found safe.

Search teams had said all three men were found 10 days after their helicopter lost contact during a mission to rescue two Myanmar climbers who went missing in a section of the Himalayas in Kachin state.

One of the helicopter's crew was found in a remote village October 7 and led rescuers to the missing injured Thai pilot, said an official from the company which sent the chopper.

But a search is still underway for a Myanmar pilot who was also on board.

"Yesterday, we found a passenger who gave us the location of the other two who were safe but slightly injured and could not walk," said Punyisa Chausong, sales manager of Thailand's Advance Aviation.

"This morning, the rescue team found the Thai captain but have not yet found the Myanmar captain."

It was still unclear whether the helicopter, part of an operation launched by controversial Myanmar tycoon Tay Za, had crashed.

Rescuers on Saturday said they had suspended aerial searches because of heavy snowfall in the mountainous region.

Hopes are fading of finding the climbers alive.

Aung Myint Myat and Wai Yan Min Thu, lost contact with the rest of their team in early September after reaching the summit of 5,881 metre (19,295 feet) HkakaBorazi in the Himalayas.

In a statement on his Htoo Foundation's website Tuesday night, Tay Za said his "heart was overwhelmed with joy" when he travelled to the village to meet the first of the rescued crew, who is the businessman's personal assistant.

"He told me that he walked ahead of the two pilots as both of them suffered injuries," he said.

His foundation could not be contacted for an update on October 8.

Tay Za, whose empire spans teak logs to an airline, is a keen climber and narrowly survived a helicopter crash in the area in 2011.

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