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Air Force loses key officer

Air Force loses key officer

T HE Cambodian air force buried "a man of high patriotic convictions" - Brigadier

General Tes Chanthan - on March 7, after a tragic plane crash at Kampong Thom

province three days before.

Gen Chanthan, 43, was piloting a P-92

surveillance plane that suffered a technical failure, clipped the top of a tree

and crashed to the ground in flames.

Another man, Gen Chanthan's

co-pilot, was severely injured and was later transferred to a hospital in

Bangkok.

The crash took place nearby where First Prime Minister Prince

Norodom Ranariddh had just finished a ceremony presenting gifts to farmers in

Stoeng district.

Chanthan's body was cremated the same day, at a temple

in Stoeng district. His ashes were buried in Veal Sbov commune, ten kms east of

Phnom Penh, after a mixed Buddhist and Christian ceremony.

"He was a man

of high patriotic convictions and did a lot for our nation," Ek Sereywath,

secretary of state of Defense, said.

"He was a man everyone trusted,

respected and could be friends with."

"His death is a great loss for me

and for the country. I regret it very much," he added.

Chanthan was

married two years ago and had one daughter.

He became a co-pilot of C-47

aircraft in 1974. He went to live in the United States in 1975 and earned a

Masters degree in commerce in 1982.

In 1989, he joined the Armée

Nationale pour le Kampuchea Indépendant, the Funcinpec army, at Site-B in

Thailand.

After the formation of the new government, he was appointed

deputy commander of the Royal Cambodian Air Force in charge of training

Cambodian pilots.

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