Vientiane, Oct 23: Two more bodies have been recovered from the crash site of the Lao Airlines flight QV301, Somkiet Vorralath, deputy director of Champassak Provincial Health, told Xinhua Wednesday.
The two bodies recovered Wednesday have brought the number of victims recovered from the crash that took place Oct 16 to 44. The bodies are being transferred to Chond De temple where forensics teams are in the process of identifying victims.
In total, 12 Lao and 15 foreigners have been identified, including one each from America, Cambodia, Canada, China, China’s Taiwan and Malaysia, four Thais, three Koreans and two Vietnamese.
Twenty bodies have been returned to the families of the victims, Vorralath said.
A large part of the plane’s fuselage has been lifted out of the Mekong river while the tail section housing the two “black box” data flight recorders is yet to be recovered.
Specialised equipment has located the approximate position of the recorders.
It is unknown if they are in an easily recoverable position or covered by debris and mud, Yakua Lopangkao, director general of the Lao Civil Aviation Department, told Xinhua Wednesday.
Poor visibility and the strong current of the wet-season Mekong are making recovery efforts difficult, according to the official.
The two black box units contain information that may help the authorities determine the details of the crash.
One unit records radio communications, conversations in the cockpit and ambient sounds while the other records inputs to the plane’s electronic systems and aircraft performance parameters.
The twin engine ATR 72-600 crashed into the river seven km from Pakse International Airport in southern Laos as it approached for landing in bad weather, killing all those on board.
The aircraft had only recorded 758 flight hours since it was put into service in March.
The captain was an experienced pilot from Cambodia, said Lao Airlines President Somphone Douangdara.