Fishermen say witnessed crash

[TamilNet, Wednesday, 30 September 1998, 18:00 GMT]
Fishermen from Pesalai, on the eastern part of the Mannar island, informed the Government Agent (GA) of the Mannar district this evening that they had seen an aircraft hurtling headlong into the sea yesterday while they were fishing in the waters off the coast of Naachchikudah.

They informed the Mannar GA that the spot where the plane had plunged into the sea was near the island of Iranaitheevu, 25 kilometers south of Jaffna and fifteen kilometers north of the Mannar island.

The parish priest of the Catholic church in Vankalai and the parents of two students from his village who were in the ill fated plane also got in touch with the Mannar GA this evening after hearing rumours about the Lion Air flight plunging into the sea near the Iranaitheevu island.

Sources said that the Catholic priest set out this evening to the village of Naachchikudah, 18 kilometers north of Mannar, to ascertain the fate of the plane.

The Mannar GA said that he will have an idea of the situation when the priest returns tomorrow.

Unconfirmed reports said that a pilot of the plane had parachuted himself to safety near Naachchikudah.

Meanwhile, sources in Jaffna said that the Liberation Tigers categorically assured an international humanitarian organisation that got in touch with them today regarding the missing plane, that they have nothing to do with the fate of the Lion air flight.

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