Painful Search Continues in Laos

Wednesday, October 23, 2013
By George Hatcher


photographer Teerawut W

Retrieval of the Lao Airlines plane that crashed in the Mekong river on a go-around has been hampered by primitive conditions. The plane has only been in service since March 2013.

The plane encountered a strong gust of wind, its nose lifted, then the ATR-72-600 impacted near Done Kho Island. Although the accident was on the 19th, and investigators have detected signals from the flight data recorders, rustic conditions, poor visibility and turbulent river eddies have prevented recovery of the black boxes. Divers have had to use ropes in the muddy water.

Forty-four victims had been recovered from the swollen river in Laos. The bodies have been subject to significant drift, due to the forceful currents.

Four crew, the Cambodian captain, plus 16 Laotians, seven French travellers, six Australians, five Thais, three South Koreans, two Vietnamese, and one national each from the United States, Canada, Malaysia, China and Taiwan were aboard.

This is Lao Airlines first fatal crash in 13 years.

(Thai)

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