A PLANE passenger was shot dead in mid-air in Myanmar after a bullet fired by a gunner on the ground pierced the fuselage.
The Myanmar National Airlines plane carrying 63 passengers was hit on Friday as it attempted to land in Loikaw — the capital of eastern Kayah state.
Shocking images showed the bullet hole on the plane and a male passenger sat in his seat surrounded by blood-soaked handkerchiefs.
He is seen slumped in his chair as he holds a handkerchief to the right side of his neck and cheek to try to stop the bleeding before being taken to hospital after landing.
The bullet reportedly penetrated the plane’s lower fuselage as it flew about four miles north of the airport at an altitude of 3,500 feet.
Myanmar National Airlines office in Loikaw said all flights to the city have been canceled indefinitely.
Myanmar’s military government accused rebels of shooting at the plane – although rebel groups have denied the allegations.
Maj-Gen Zaw Min Tun, a spokesman for Myanmar’s ruling Military Council, told state television: “I would like to say that this kind of attack on the passenger plane is a war crime.
“People and organizations who want peace must condemn this issue all round.”
Fierce fighting erupted between the military and rebel groups in Kayah state after the army toppled a democratically elected government and took power last year.
The takeover in February last year was met with peaceful protests – but a deadly crackdown on protesters led thousands of civilians to form militia units as part of a People’s Defense Force to fight back.
The military government said the shooting was carried out by the Karenni National Progressive Party – a militia fighting against the government – and its allies in the People’s Defense Force.
But Khu Daniel, a leader of the Karenni National Progressive Party, denied the accusation and said his party did not order its fighters to fire on civilians or passenger planes.
“The military always blames other organizations for the shootings. Our armed wing did not fire at the plane this morning,” he said.
A spokesman for the Karenni Nationalities Defense Force, another rebel group, called the allegations nothing more than “slanderous propaganda against the revolutionary forces by the military council.”
He said: “The runway and airfield grounds are surrounded by infantry battalions and high security areas. So to say PDFs attacked the plane is just an accusation.”
The government said it has increased security around the airport.
https://www.the-sun.com/news/6344113/plane-passenger-shot-mid-air/ The plane passenger is shot dead in mid-air after the plane was fired on from the ground and a bullet pierced the fuselage