Myanmar War Jet Causes Panic after Crossing into Thailand’s Air Space

Residents of the Phop Phra district were terrorized by a Myanmar fighter plane that crossed Thai airspace yesterday morning.

On Thursday, fighting between Myanmar government forces and Karen soldiers erupted across Myawaddy border town, opposite Ban Wao Lay Tai village in Phop Phra district of Tak province.

According to a border official, a MiG-29 fighter jet from the Myanmar air force violated Thai airspace around midday. It reportedly flew over the area between Ban Wao Lay Tai and Ban Wao Lay Nua villages.

Residents of the two border villages panicked and took refuge in bunkers after the fighter jet crossed Thai airspace and explosions in the neighboring country were heard. Two local schools were forced to suspend classes.

As the Myanmar fighter jet passed low over its buildings, Ban Wao Lay Tai School promptly called a halt to classes. Students and parents at Ban Wao Lay Nua School, which also suspended academic activities, were taken to bunkers within the campus.

Numerous villagers in Myanmar kept escaping military attacks by crossing into Thai borders in the Phop Phra area, the border source claimed.

In response, the Thai Air Force sent two F-16 fighter jets to patrol the area along the border.

According to Royal Thai Air Force (RTAF)’s spokesperson AVM Prapas Sonjaidee, a military unit within the RTAF reported that an unidentified aircraft entered the airspace over the Phop Phra area around 11:16 a.m. on Thursday.

The jet entered Thai airspace, carried out airstrikes against ethnic insurgents near the border, and then vanished off RTAF radar, he said.

Meanwhile, the RTAF ordered a military attaché in Rangoon to coordinate with the agencies involved in Myanmar to discuss the intrusion.

Another source close to the government said Thai Prime Minister and Defense Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha had ordered ACM Air Force Chief Napadej Dhupatemiya to submit a complaint to Myanmar’s air force attaché in Rangoon through the Foreign Affairs Ministry.

Later, ACM Napadej said he had had a phone call with his counterpart in Myanmar about the intrusion. The Burmese air force chief reportedly apologized for the incident and said it would not happen again.