Debris of the Vietnamese coast guard aircraft which went off radar while searching for the missing pilot of a crashed Russian-made fighter jet has been found off the northern coastline.
The Spanish-made airplane CASA-212 with nine people on board captained by Colonel Le Kiem Toan lost contact at around 12:30 pm on Thursday at a location 44 nautical miles southwest of Bach Long Vi Island off the northern city of Hai Phong.
According to Quan Doi Nhan Dan (People’s Army) newspaper, multiple remains reportedly belonging to the plane, including fragments of the fuselage, wings and landing gear, were salvaged on Friday morning.
The debris was found at a maritime area about 13 to 15 nautical miles southwest of Bach Long Vi, VnExpress reported, adding that the ocean there is between 60 and 70 meters deep.
Major General Nguyen Quang Dam, Commander of the Vietnam Coast Guard, was quoted by the newswire as saying that the accident happened due to bad weather conditions.
Meanwhile, a Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper source stated that the CASA plane was descending in order to approach objects the crew believed were the search targets prior to the crash.
The plane departed from the Gia Lam military airport in Hanoi at 9:30 am the same day with the mission to look for the Russian-made fighter jet Su30-MK2, which went down off the north-central province of Nghe An on Tuesday morning, and its missing pilot, Tran Quang Khai.
Khai was operating the warplane with his co-pilot, Nguyen Huu Cuong, who was rescued by a local fishing boat on Wednesday morning and safely brought ashore later the same day.
Following the crash of the CASA-212, the Ministry of National Defense has dispatched rescue units to the location where it was last recorded on radar as well as notifying local authorities and fishing boats to assist in the mission.
Rescue teams discovered several debris pieces near the location on Thursday evening, which was assumed to belong to the missing plane.
Three specialized rescue crafts have been dispatched to the sea area near the plane crash to look for the victims, Nguyen Anh Vu, general director of the Vietnam Maritime Rescue Coordination Center (MRRC), affirmed on Friday morning.
Chinese authorities have also sent a vessel to support the mission, upon the request of the MRRC, Vu added.
A total of over 1,560 people have been partaking in the search and rescue mission as of Friday morning, of whom 764 are soldiers and 800 others are local fishermen.
Hundreds of vessels, fishing boats, and aircraft have been deployed to search for the plane.
Specializing in lower latitude flights and sea patrols, the CASA-212 is a medium transport aircraft designed and built in Spain with the capacity of carrying out a journey up to seven hours long.
Source: Tuoitre News