Sri Lanka finds bombed plane's wreckage after 14 years

Last Updated: Fri, Oct 12, 2012 06:50 hrs

Colombo, Oct 12 (IANS) Sri Lanka said Friday that it has found the wreckage of what is believed to be a passenger plane shot down by Tamil Tigers 14 years ago.

The 'Lion Air' domestic passenger plane went missing over the northern seas in September 1998 with 48 passengers and seven crew members onboard, reported Xinhua.

The incident took place during the 30-year war between the government and Tamil Tigers and there was suspicion the plane may have been shot down by the rebels.

It was the first passenger plane to have been shot down by the rebels but at that time the rebels said they were not involved.

The ill-fated Lion Air 602 took off from Pallali airport in the northern town of Jaffna Sep 29, 1998 and was heading to the Colombo airport when it disappeared from the radar screen 10 minutes after take-off.

Navy spokesman Kosala Warnakulasuriya told Xinhua that on a request made by the police Terrorist Investigations Division (TID) the navy searched a location in the sea north of the country and found the wreckage of a plane.

"We found parts of a plane in the area but we still have not decided on any salvage operation," the navy spokesman added.

The wreckage of the plane was found off Iranativu Island after a rebel who is in TID custody revealed its whereabouts.

The rebels and the Sri Lankan military fought a bitter 30-year war in which thousands were killed. The rebels were eventually defeated in May 2009.

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