A Myanmar military transport plane with 120 people on board has gone missing during a flight from southern Myanmar to Yangon.
There were fears it may have crashed into the ocean, since its route would have taken it over the Andaman Sea.
General Myat Min Oo said the Chinese-made Y-8 turboprop aircraft was carrying 106 passengers - mostly families of military personnel - and 14 crew members when it went missing Wednesday afternoon.
In an earlier statement, the number of passengers was said to be 90. It is not unusual for such flights to carry civilians to offset transportation costs for military families stationed in the somewhat remote south.
"The military plane went missing and lost contact after it took off from Myeik, and now the military has started a sea and air search with naval ships and military aircraft and is preparing for rescue operations," he said.
An announcement posted on the Facebook page of the commander of the military, Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, said the flight took off from Myeik at 1:06 pm (local time) and contact with it was lost at 1:35 pm, when it was believed to be about 32 kilometres to the west of Dawei, formerly known as Tavoy.
It said Myanmar had received the plane in March last year, and since then it had logged 809 flying hours.
In a second announcement Wednesday night, the commander's office said six navy ships and three military aircraft were searching for the missing plane.