38 bodies recovered from Mekong, 14 identified

38 bodies recovered from Mekong, 14 identified
A Lao woman, left, is comforted by a Thai woman yesterday at a Chinese temple in Pakse, the capital of Laos.

Some 38 bodies of victims from the Lao Airlines crash have been retrieved from the Mekong River, which the ill-fated Flight QV301 plunged into last Wednesday.

Fourteen of the bodies have been identified, including the Cambodian captain and three crew members, six Laotian passengers, one Vietnamese, two Australians and a Chinese passenger, according to a statement by Lao Airlines vice president Saleum Tayarath released yesterday.

He said a special team from the airline was working with national and local authorities as well as investigators from the plane manufacturer in France and rescue workers from Thailand.

It remained unclear yesterday whether any of the five Thai passengers of the turbo-prop ATR-72 plane was among the bodies found.

The plane crash occurred near Pakse airport in the southern Laotian province of Champasak.

According to an updated passenger list from the airline, there were 16 Laotians, seven French travellers, six Australians, five Thais, three South Koreans, three Vietnamese, and one national each from the United States, Malaysia, China and Taiwan.

Laotian Prime Minister Thongsing Thammavong thanked Thailand yesterday for helping with the search efforts when he met his Thai counterpart Yingluck Shinawatra in Nong Khai. Yingluck also promised "full support" to the ongoing mission to recover bodies of the crash victims and salvage the aircraft. Thai officials would also help Laos in identifying the bodies.

Yingluck said she expressed regret over the incident and that the Laotian leader thanked Thailand for its assistance.

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