All those aboard a rescue aircraft that went missing on June 16 have been declared dead.
Vietnam has confirmed the death of nine crew members aboard a search plane that went missing ten days ago during a rescue mission for a missing fighter jet.
The Vietnam Coast Guard aircraft was reported missing on June 16 during a search for a Vietnamese fighter jet that crashed off the coast of north-central Thanh Hoa province.
The jet, Su-30MK2, had two pilots on board, one of whom, Major Nguyen Huu Cuong, was rescued. Lieutenant Colonel Tran Quang Khai, 43, was killed.
Senior Lieutenant General Vo Van Tuan from the Vietnam’s People Army told a press conference on June 24 that “according to Major Cuong, the fighter jet had problems in the cockpit and the two pilots ejected.”
The cause of the crash of the rescue aircraft, CASA 212, is still being investigated, Senior Lieutenant General Tuan added. “However, weather conditions coupled with the low altitude the plane was flying at are thought to be the causes,” he said.
The fighter jet crashed at a site 33 nautical miles from Thanh Hoa province’s Hon Me Island while the search aircraft went down 15 nautical miles to the south-east of Bach Long Vy Island off the coast of northern Hai Phong city.
The Ministry of Defense is searching for the black boxes from both aircraft. Rescue teams have recovered four of the dead from the rescue aircraft.
On June 24 a rescue vessel commanded by Vice Admiral Pham Ngoc Minh, Deputy Chief of the General Staff, carried out search and rescue operations near Bach Long Vi Island.
More bodies were recovered, together with pieces of wreckage.
Nearly 40 ships of the Navy, Coast Guard, Air Force and fisheries units are involved in the search, according to Lieutenant General Pham Ngoc Minh, Deputy Chief of Staff of the Vietnam People’s Army.
Airbus, the maker of the rescue aircraft, is cooperating with Vietnam to identify the reasons behind the incident. On June 21 it asked for data from the black box and cockpit recordings to be transferred to Airbus’s office in Madrid.
Senior Lieutenant General Tuan expressed his gratitude to Vietnamese fishermen as well as other countries that helped Vietnam in the search for the two planes.