Thai divers to search for Pakse victims
- Published: 17 Oct 2013 at 11.41
- Online news:
A team of 50 divers and rescuers drawn from the Thai navy and a charity foundation in Ubon Ratchathani has been despatched to Champassak province of Laos to help in the search for the bodies of the Lao Airlines crash victims, Ubon Ratchathani deputy governor Suthinan Boonmee said.
Mr Suthinan said this was in response to a request by the authorities of Champassak province.
The Thai team, led by Mr Suthinan, met Khamsone Saengmala, a Lao coordinator, for a briefing at Chong Mek border pass in Sirindhorn district this morning before departing with necessary equipment for Pakse.
The plane, an ATR twin turbo prop, clashed into the Mekong river near Done Kho island, about 3km from Pakse airport, in bad weather Wednesday afternoon.
The plane is reported to have been carrying 44 passengers and five crew. All were believed to have been killed in the crash. Five Thais were among the passengers.
Mr Khamsone said the search might take a day or two because the Mekong river in the rainy season is very deep and flows rapidly.
Chawalit Thongprayoon, director of Sunpasitprasong Hospital in Ubon Ratchathani, said he had been asked by Champassak Hospital to provide some body bags.
The five Thais confirmed on board the ill-fated aircraft were identified as Kanueng Chartkasamchai, Nipol Mengsee, Phakkhawat Atratanachai, Veejij Busarawuthanu, and Yanyong Apaanan.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Sek Wannamethi said officials from the Thai consulate in Savannakhet had left for Pakse to help identify the five Thais.
Russ Jalichandra, the Thai consul-general at Savannakhet, said so far the bodies of only five of the victims had been recovered.
So it might not be possible for the bodies of the five Thais to be sent home this afternoon, he said.