LAO AIRLINES TRAGEDY
PAKSE: The last Thai victim among those who perished in the Lao Airlines plane crash last week has now been recovered and identified, a senior Thai Foreign Ministry official said yesterday.
The fifth victim is Nipol Mengsee, an employee with PTT Pcl, said Russ Jalichandra, the Thai consul-general in Savannakhet, Laos.
The find has increased the number of bodies recovered from the Mekong River to 44, with 30 body parts also recovered.
However, Lao authorities are continuing their search for the rest of the missing bodies.
Mr Russ said the body of Nipol was recovered around 1pm while Lao officials and divers yesterday retrieved other parts of the wreckage of the Lao Airlines plane from the river. "When his body was recovered, he was still wearing his PTT uniform," Mr Russ said.
Mr Russ added the Disaster Victim Identification team had confirmed his identity. He said the body will be returned to Thailand today on a Bangkok Airways flight.
Nipol was among five Thai passengers on board Lao Airlines Flight QV301 that crashed into the Mekong River near Don Khor islet in Laos' Pakse district of Champassak province last Wednesday.
The plane crashed while attempting to land at Pakse International Airport. The airline announced that bad weather from the Nari storm was partly to blame.
Forty-four passengers and five crew on the flight died. They included foreigners from some 10 countries.
Among them were Phakkawat Atiratanachai, Kanueng Chartkasamchai, Veekij Busarawuthanu, Yanyong Apaanan and Nipol, the five Thai passengers killed.
The bodies of Phakkawat, Kanueng and Veekij arrived in Bangkok on Tuesday by a C-130 transport plane. A fourth body, that of Yanyong, arrived in Bangkok about 3.30pm yesterday. On Tuesday, search teams retrieved the main cabin of the plane.
Attempts to salvage the two black boxes and other parts of the wreckage are continuing. The teams found the area where the black boxes were located but have yet to bring them to the surface. Lao authorities said the teams found it hard to reach them because of strong river currents and muddy water.