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Korea, Myanmar may probe presumed 1987 jet crash wreckage

Families of KAL Flight 858 victims hold a press conference in front of the Government Complex Seoul, Jan. 30, to call for the recovery of and investigation into the presumed wreckage located off Myanmar. / Yonhap
Families of KAL Flight 858 victims hold a press conference in front of the Government Complex Seoul, Jan. 30, to call for the recovery of and investigation into the presumed wreckage located off Myanmar. / Yonhap

By Park Han-sol

The Korean and Myanmar governments are discussing investigating wreckage in the sea off Myanmar ― presumably from a Korean Air flight that disappeared in 1987, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The ministry said Thursday the governments were communicating through diplomatic channels about investigating the suspected fuselage, adding that further details could not be disclosed yet.

KAL858 was carrying 115 people from Baghdad to Seoul, Nov. 29, 1987, when the plane exploded in midair and disappeared near Myanmar. The then Chun Doo-hwan government failed to salvage any bodies, belongings or wreckage.

Government investigations conducted in 1987 and again during the 2003-08 Roh Moo-hyun administration concluded that two North Korean agents were responsible for the bombing of the jet.

However, victims' families have continued calling for a full inquiry because there was no physical evidence regarding the incident besides a confession from Kim Hyon-hui, one of the alleged bombers.

In early January, local broadcaster MBC reported that what could be the fuselage of KAL858 had been found in the Andaman Sea off Myanmar. This has prompted victims' families to demand recovery operations and the reopening the investigation.


Families of KAL Flight 858 victims hold a press conference in front of the Government Complex Seoul, Jan. 30, to call for the recovery of and investigation into the presumed wreckage located off Myanmar. / Yonhap
Families of KAL Flight 858 victims hold a press conference in front of the Government Complex Seoul, Jan. 30, to call for the recovery of and investigation into the presumed wreckage located off Myanmar. / Yonhap

By Park Han-sol

The Korean and Myanmar governments are discussing investigating wreckage in the sea off Myanmar ― presumably from a Korean Air flight that disappeared in 1987, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The ministry said Thursday the governments were communicating through diplomatic channels about investigating the suspected fuselage, adding that further details could not be disclosed yet.

KAL858 was carrying 115 people from Baghdad to Seoul, Nov. 29, 1987, when the plane exploded in midair and disappeared near Myanmar. The then Chun Doo-hwan government failed to salvage any bodies, belongings or wreckage.

Government investigations conducted in 1987 and again during the 2003-08 Roh Moo-hyun administration concluded that two North Korean agents were responsible for the bombing of the jet.

However, victims' families have continued calling for a full inquiry because there was no physical evidence regarding the incident besides a confession from Kim Hyon-hui, one of the alleged bombers.

In early January, local broadcaster MBC reported that what could be the fuselage of KAL858 had been found in the Andaman Sea off Myanmar. This has prompted victims' families to demand recovery operations and the reopening the investigation.


박한솔 hansolp@koreatimes.co.kr

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