PAKSE, Laos — Rescuers in fishing boats pulled bodies from the muddy Mekong River today as officials in Laos ruled out finding survivors from a plane that crashed in stormy weather, killing 49 people from 11 countries.
Backpacks, two broken airplane propellers and passports were among the debris scattered on the riverbank where the Lao Airlines turboprop plane left deep skid marks in the ground before disappearing into the water Wednesday.
Yakao Lopangkao, director-general of Lao’s Department of Civil Aviation, who was at the crash site in Pakse in southern Laos, ruled out finding survivors. “There is no hope,” he said. “The plane appears to have crashed very hard before entering the water.”
State-run Lao Airlines said the flight included 16 Lao nationals, seven French, six Australians, five Thais, three Koreans, two Vietnamese and one person each from Canada, China, Malaysia, Taiwan and the United States. The passengers included foreign tourists and expatriates working in Laos.