Search form

Login - Register | FOLLOW US ON

Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - PMT wreck found on Bokor

PMT wreck found on Bokor

pmt.jpg
pmt.jpg

After an exhaustive three-day search through dense jungle on the northeast side of

Kampot province's Bokor mountain, the wreckage of PMT Air's flight U4 241 was discovered

in the early hours of June 27, officials said. The operation to find and remove the

bodies of the 22 passengers and crew that departed from Siem Reap en route to Sihanoukville

on June 25 was completed by June 28. There were no survivors.

Searchers inspect the wreckage of PMT Air Flight U4 241 from Siem Reap to Sihanoukville. On board were 22 passengers and crew.

Nhim Vanda, first deputy president of the National Committee for Disaster Management,

led more than 1,000 RCAF troops through difficult terrain in an attempt to locate

the site of the accident. The one-armed Vanda said all 22 bodies had been recovered

and taken from the wreckage to Phnom Penh's Preah Bat Norodom Sihanouk hospital,

where there were awaiting identification and repatriation.

"We have identified all 13 Korean bodies," said an official from the South

Korean Embassy. "This

process was finished by midnight on June 27. We are now working on returning the

victims to Korea."

The families of the victims, many of whom traveled to Cambodia from Korea earlier

this week, have not yet seen the bodies of their loved ones, the official said.

"The victims' families are still in a state of shock," the official said.

"We are currently cleaning up the bodies, and when this process is complete,

we will invite the families to the hospital to view the bodies if they want."

On June 27, relatives of the Cambodian victims, waiting outside the hospital to collect

the bodies of their loved ones, said they had been promised five million riel by

government officials to help cover the costs of funeral ceremonies.

The Antonov An-24 plane was also carrying three Czech passengers, and a crew made

up of five Cambodians and one Uzbek pilot, Nikolay Pavlenko.

Contrary to local media reports, Pavlenko was an Uzbeki not a Russian citizen, said

Vladlen Semivolos, Deputy Head of Mission at the Russian Embassy in Phnom Penh.

"We do have Russian pilots working in Cambodia but this pilot was from Uzbekistan

not Russia," he said on June 27. "As far as I understand the plane was

made in ether Russia or Ukraine, and it will be for the local authorities to decide

where the black boxes [both of which were retrieved from the wreckage] will be sent

for investigation."

An official from the State Secretariat of Civil Aviation (SSCA) said that the plane

was Russian made and that the data recorders, or black boxes, would be sent to Russia

for analysis.

Kampot Police Chief In Chiva, said on June 27 that it took local police and RCAF

soldiers over 12 hours to cut the plane apart and locate the victims.

The wreck was discovered when the thick cloud cover dispersed enough to allow the

reconnaissance helicopters into the area.

"We actually found the wreck," said Kevin Treloar, of Helicopters of Cambodia,

a private company asked to join the rescue mission by the Korean Embassy and the

Cambodian government. "There was no Electronic Location Device (ELD) to ease

search efforts. We don't know whether there was one on board the plane. We knew roughly

where the plane had crashed, but were only able to sneak in under the clouds this

morning."

On June 28, PMT Air, known officially as Progress Multitrade Co. Ltd, could not be

reached to confirm whether the Anatov An-24 had been equipped with an ELD.

One pilot with extensive experience flying in Cambodia, said ELD requirements depended

on where a plane was registered.

"The weather was not perfect but I had no problem," said the pilot, who

was also in the air on June 25. "You would think if they were in trouble they

would have been able to land, but then we fly visual and they fly by instruments."

"At the end of the day though, it is always the pilots decision as to whether

it is safe enough to fly given the prevailing weather conditions."

A forensic investigation into the causes of the crash has been launched, and will

examine the possibility of pilot error.

Some Korean media outlets have obtained a purported recording of the final moments

of conversation between the pilot of PMT flight U4 241 and the control tower in Sihanoukville.

The alleged transcript, which was printed in Korean media, reads:

"We are flying at an altitude of 2000 feet," said the pilot.

"You are flying too low. Given your current location, you should move to an

altitude of 4000 feet," said the control tower in Sihanoukville.

"It's no problem; I am familiar with this area," said the pilot. These

were allegedly the final words spoken by the pilot before the plane lost contact

with the control tower, disappeared from radar screens, and crashed into the northeast

side of Bokor mountain.

An official from the South Korean Embassy confirmed that Korean media had been reporting

that pilot error was the cause of the accident.

The Korean Embassy in Phnom Penh will wait until the results of the forensic investigation

are finalized before offering any comments on the causes of the crash, the official

said.

Him Sarun, chief of cabinet at SSCA, said that it was too early to determine the

causes of the crash.

"What the [Korean media] reports say is just speculation, it is not the truth,"

he told the Post June 28.

"We will not know the causes of the crash until the black boxes have been examined.

We have not examined the black boxes yet, we will send them to Russia to be examined.

This information [as reported in Korean media] is not true, I don't know where they

got this information from, but it is only rumor."

0

Comments

Please, login or register to post a comment

Latest Video

Turkish Embassy calls for closure of Zaman schools

With an attempted coup against the government of President Recep Erdogan quashed only days ago and more than 7,000 alleged conspirators now under arrest, the Turkish ambassador to Cambodia yesterday pressed the govern

CNRP lawmakers beaten

Two opposition lawmakers, Nhay Chamroeun and Kong Sakphea were beaten unconscious during protests in Phnom Penh, as over a thousand protesters descended upon the National Assembly.

Student authors discuss "The Cambodian Economy"

Student authors discuss "The Cambodian Economy"

Students at Phnom Penh's Liger Learning Center have written and published a new book, "The Cambodian Economy".