Intensive search for missing aircraft, pilots ordered

Update: June, 20/2016 - 16:00
Debris belonging to the CASA-212 plane, which crashed on June 16 while searching for the missing Su-30 fighter pilot, was found to the southwest of Bạch Long Vĩ Island near the delimitation line in the Tonkin Gulf. – VNA/VNS Photo Hồng Pha
Viet Nam News

HÀ NỘI – Nine military personnel on a CASA 212 turboprop plane are still missing since the aircraft went down last Thursday in the Gulf of Tonkin.

Deputy Prime Minister and head of the National Committee for Search and Rescue Trịnh Đình Dũng yesterday called for an intensive search operation in the coastal provinces from Quảng Ninh to Hà Tĩnh to search for the missing personnel.

The CASA-212-40 with nine people on board went missing on June 16 during a search operation for a Su-30MK2, which crashed offshore the central province of Nghệ An last Tuesday. One of the two pilots on board, Major Nguyễn Hữu Cường, was rescued, but the other, Lieutenant Colonel Trần Quang Khải, 43, was found dead at sea last Friday and was brought ashore.

Search and rescue teams found debris belonging to the CASA-212 plane, which crashed on June 16 during a search operation for missing Su-30 fighter pilot Khải. The debris of the plane was found to the southwest of Bạch Long Vĩ Island near the delimitation line in the Tonkin Gulf.

China sent one rescue and two coastguard boats to help search for the CASA plane in response to Việt Nam’s request for assistance. It also allowed Vietnamese vessels to enter the Chinese side of the maritime boundary agreed to between the two countries.

Deputy PM Dũng called on fishing boats and local authorities in the coastal provinces to cooperate with the search and rescue teams to find the missing aircraft and the pilots as soon as possible.

They were also told to report any signals or objects suspected to be related to the missing aircraft and pilots.

Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc earlier offered condolences to the relatives of the officers and soldiers involved in the two separate incidents of the fighter jet Su 30MK2 and the search aircraft CASA-212. He urged the deployment of all forces to search for the missing people.

Besides search and rescue teams from the National Defense Ministry and the localities, the Ministry of Public Security has also joined the search operation. The police have been told to get ready to assist other forces. Two contact numbers – 0692320160 and 0692320136 – are being used to receive and respond to any call for assistance from the military forces.

The deputy prime minister Trịnh Đình Dũng attended a ceremony this morning to commemorate Colonel Trần Quang Khải at Military Hospital No. 4 in central Nghệ An Province’s Vinh City. Other leaders, including President Trần Đại Quang, National Assembly Chairwoman Nguyễn Thị Kim Ngân and Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc sent wreaths and offered condolences to Khải’s family.

Khải’s body was carried from Vinh City to his hometown in northern Bắc Giang Province’s Lang Giang District where his funeral will be organised tomorrow.

The Ministry of Defence has posthumously promoted Lieutenant Colonel Trần Quang Khải to Colonel to recognise his contribution and sacrifice for the military and the nation.

Hà Nội People’s Committee Chairman Nguyễn Đức Chung today asked the city’s Department of Education and Training to employ Khải’s wife as a teacher at Chu Văn An High School. The couple got married three years ago and their daughter is now around two years old. They had rented a house in Hà Nội while Khải worked in central Thanh Hóa Province. – VNS