PAKSE - A body wearing a PTT Plc uniform was found in the Mekong River and the identity verified on Wednesday as the remains of the missing fifth Thai passenger on the Lao Airlines plane that crashed near Pakse on Oct 16.
Russ Jalichandra, the Thai consul-general in Savannakhet, said on Wednesday the body of Nipol Mengsee was found and recovered about 1pm while divers and rescue workers were salvaging wreckage of the crashed ATR 72-600 aircraft from the bottom of the Mekong River.
Police forensic experts verified his identity an hour later. The body of the PTT engineer would be flown home on Thursday, the consul added.
Evidence used in the verification process included his fingerprints, officials said.
Nipol bears another last name, Chaichayakuldee.
The bodies of three Thai victims - Phakkawat Atiratanachai, Kanueng Chartkasamchai and Veekij Busarawuthanu - were returned from Pakse to Thailand and their families on Tuesday. The body of Yanyong Apaanan was flown to Bangkok on a Bangkok Airways flight charted by PTT on Wednesday.
Flight QV301 from Vientiane crashed into the Mekong on Oct 16 while trying to land in harsh weather conditions at Pakse airport in the southern Lao province of Champassak. All 44 passengers and five crew were killed. So far 44 bodies have been found.
The aircraft's flight recorders have still not been recovered, despite the locator signal being detected, but many pieces of the wreckage were winched out of the river on Wednesday.
Yakua Lopangkao, director-general of the Lao Department of Civil Aviation, told The Vientiane Times that divers were still searching for the flight recorders.
Sitthideth Duangsitthi, director-general of Lao Airlines' planning and cooperation department, told the state-owned English-language newspaper that the airline will pay 20 million kip (78,800 baht) to the family of each of the victims, plus an additional US$5,000 (155,000 baht) from its London-based insurance company Willis. The initial payment was intended to cover funeral expenses.
Mr Sitthideth did not rule out further compensation, but would not provide details.
The families of at least three of the Thai passengersa killed in the crash have already demanded more compensation from the insurance firm, quoting a figure of $500,000.
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