LONDON – Burma news source the Democratic Voice of Burma (DVB) has reported that a Myanmar National Airlines (MNA) aircraft was hit by gunfire as it made its approach to Loikaw, the capital of the eastern state of Kayah, on Friday morning September 30.
According to state media, one man was injured in the incident, although local sources claim two persons aboard the flight sustained injuries. Footage surfacing via local news channels does show one man with an injury to his cheek.
“The bullet went through the aircraft’s cabin right in front of me. Only one passenger was hit,” a passenger told Democratic Voice of Burma.
It was reported that the Myanmar National Airlines aircraft – an ATR-72 regional commuter registered XY-AML – was operating as scheduled Flight UB149 out of Yangon. The aircraft was shot at as it made its approach to land on RWY19 at Loikaw airport, Myanmar.
It is understood that three bullets impacted the fuselage of the aircraft and the male passenger suffered an injury to his right cheek as a result. The state news agency has published photos reported to be the man on the flight who sustained the injury.
State media have reported that the flight was carrying 63 passengers and the bullets struck the left-hand side of the fuselage as the aircraft was making its approach. As a result of the incident, Myanmar National Airlines has cancelled all flights operating into Loikaw for an indefinite period.
Flights into the region had been previously suspended in March 2021, due to local instability and the spread of the Covid19 pandemic, however normal operations had resumed at the middle of this year.
The Myanmar military ruling council have accused rebel forces of the Karenni National Progressive Party, an ethnic minority militia who are fighting the government of the shooting.
It is understood that the rebel militia have since denied the attack on the Myanmar National Airlines aircraft.