Heavy rains were hindering thousands of rescuers scouring dense forests in southern Cambodia for a tourist plane believed to have crashed the day before
- From: Chim <ChimS1@xxxxxxx>
- Date: Mon, 25 Jun 2007 21:33:23 -0700
Rain hinders search for Cambodian plane, 22 feared dead by Suy Se
1 hour, 5 minutes ago
KAMPOT, Cambodia (AFP) - Heavy rains were hindering thousands of
rescuers scouring dense forests in southern Cambodia Tuesday for a
tourist plane believed to have crashed the day before.
All 22 people on the chartered aircraft -- including 13 South Koreans
and three Czech nationals travelling from the Angkor temple town of
Siem Reap to the seaside resort of Sihanoukville -- are feared dead,
"I hope there are some survivors, but nobody is sure," said South
Korean Ambassador Shin Hyun-Suk, before joining other Korean diplomats
and Cambodian officials in a meeting to try and map out how best to
reach the plane.
"The rain is affecting the search," he told AFP.
The Russian-made AN-24, which disappeared from radar about 40 minutes
after leaving Siem Reap airport Monday morning, is thought to have
crashed in a mountainous area in Kampot province about 50 kilometres
(30 miles) from its destination.
But rescue efforts have been further complicated by reports that the
plane might have gone down in neighbouring Sihanoukville municipality,
Ly Thuch, deputy director of Cambodia's National Disaster Committee,
said more than 1,000 people were now searching for the plane,
including police, soldiers and local conservation workers.
He said Cambodia had asked the US Embassy to provide satellite
photographs of the area to try and locate the crash site.
"We hope to find them soon. The (rescuers) will search deeper into the
forest," he said, adding bad weather had grounded five helicopters
that were scrambled for the search effort.
One group of rescuers was less than 10 kilometres (six miles) from
where the crash was thought to be, he said, adding that so far they
had only vague eyewitness accounts from villagers to guide them to the
The crash is the first major aircraft disaster to strike Cambodia in a
decade, but highlights the country's need to bolster its domestic air
safety amid a rise in tourist arrivals.
The plane was operated by PMT Air, which runs flights between Phnom
Penh and some provincial capitals but has had at least three accidents
or in-flight emergencies in the past two years and was temporarily
grounded after one incident.
Engine failure once forced a PMT plane to turn back mid-flight, while
another ran off the runway as it landed because it was overloaded with
passengers, officials said at the time.
PMT opened a route between Siem Reap and Sihanoukville in January,
aviation officials said, in a bid to encourage more tourist traffic
between the two cities.
South Korea's foreign ministry said late Monday it had identified all
13 South Koreans, according to Yonhap news agency.
"The 13 South Koreans are seen as tourists recruited by a tour
agency," a ministry official said, adding two children and two
teenagers were among those on board the doomed plane.
The ministry said it would soon send a six-member fact-finding mission
South Koreans made up the largest percentage of 1.7 million foreign
visitors to Cambodia in 2006.
Cambodia's last significant air accident occurred in 1997, when a
Vietnam Airlines flight from Ho Chi Minh City to Phnom Penh crashed in
heavy monsoon rain as it attempted to land at the capital's
Sixty-four people were killed in the crash. Only two infants, a Thai
boy and a Vietnamese boy, survived.
- Prev by Date: Re: An aircraft carrying 13 South Koreans, 3 Czechs and 4 crew from Angkor Wat temples crashed in the coastal province of Kampot
- Next by Date: 'The whole region is not wholly democratic,' Wanandi said. 'If there's a movement, there's not one straight line for democracy,"
- Previous by thread: Several farmers were beaten by police in the wake of protests for more than 100 families in Kampong Chhnang who are in a land dispute with former village chiefs
- Next by thread: Re: Heavy rains were hindering thousands of rescuers scouring dense forests in southern Cambodia for a tourist plane believed to have crashed the day before