Canadian among plane crash victims found in Laos
PAKSE, Laos—Rescuers in fishing boats pulled bodies from the muddy Mekong River today as officials in Laos ruled out finding survivors from a plane that crashed in stormy weather, killing 49 people, including one Canadian.
Backpacks, an airplane propeller, and passports were among the debris scattered on the riverbank where the Lao Airlines turboprop plane apparently hit hard before skidding into the water and sinking yestersday.
“We haven’t found the plane yet,” he added. “It is underwater.
“We’re trying to use divers to locate it.”
He ruled out finding survivors.
“There is no hope,” Lopangkao said. “The plane appears to have crashed very hard before entering the water.”
Some bodies were found as far as 20 km from the crash site, he noted.
“We have asked villagers and people who live along the river to look for bodies and alert authorities when they see anything,” he said.
Fleets of small fishing boats and inflatable rafts plied the muddy, vast waterway as part of the search with men in life vests peering into the water.
After storms yesterday, the search took place under sunny blue skies.
Thailand, which borders Laos, was helping with the search. It sent 30 scuba divers to assist in the search for bodies, said Thai Foreign Ministry spokesman Sek Wannamethee.
The state-run Lao Airlines released an updated list of the 44 passengers’ nationalities today.
It said the flight included 16 Lao nationals, seven French, six Australians, five Thais, three Koreans, two Vietnamese, and one person each from Canada, China, Malaysia, Taiwan, and the United States.
The Canadian passenger has yet to be identified.
A Foreign Affairs spokesman in Ottawa said yesterday that the department was working closely with local authorities to confirm if Canadian citizens had been affected.