Missing Myanmar helicopter pilot found dead

The helicopter due to bring relief supplies to a Hkaka Borazi in the Myanmar side of the Himalayas lost contact with the ground, Sept 28, 2014. — AFP pic
The helicopter due to bring relief supplies to a Hkaka Borazi in the Myanmar side of the Himalayas lost contact with the ground, Sept 28, 2014. — AFP pic

YANGON, Oct 9 — A Myanmar pilot who was missing for over a week after his helicopter lost contact during a relief mission has been found dead in a remote northern forest, rescuers said today.

Two other men on board—including the Thai pilot—were found alive this week in the same mountainous area, after they vanished during a relief flight to find two missing Myanmar climbers in Kachin state in Myanmar’s portion of the Himalayas.

The Myanmar pilot, Aung Myat Toe, is thought to have been injured and unable to make his way out of the forest in the wild border area.

“The rescue team went to the cave he was sheltering in. But when they arrived there, they didn’t see him, so they looked around nearby in the forest and found his body,” said Nyi Min San, spokesman for the Htoo Foundation, which is organising the rescue.

“We don’t know what happened exactly,” he told AFP.

The helicopter was part of a search operation organised by controversial Myanmar tycoon Tay Za, Htoo’s owner, to find two mountaineers who went missing in early September.

Hopes are fading that the two climbers, who were making their descent after reaching the summit of 5,881 metre (19,295 feet) Hkaka Borazi, will be found alive.

Thailand’s Advance Aviation, which sent the chopper, said the helicopter hit bad weather soon after take off.

“It was an emergency landing, not a crash, and damages occurred to the helicopter. I don’t know yet how serious the damages were or whether or not it can be flown back,” said the company’s head Chai Nasylvanta at a press conference in Bangkok today.

He said the Thai pilot was uninjured.

The Myanmar passenger, Tay Za’s assistant, was also unhurt. He was discovered in a remote village on Tuesday and was able to point rescuers in the direction of the two other men.

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. — AFP

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