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Black Boxes Located in Lao Plane Crash

  • VOA News

A relative (R) of a victim of a plane crash arrives to a building of a Chinese temple, which is functioning as a temporary mortuary, in Pakse on October 19, 2013.

A relative (R) of a victim of a plane crash arrives to a building of a Chinese temple, which is functioning as a temporary mortuary, in Pakse on October 19, 2013.

Lao officials say experts from the French manufacturer of the plane that crashed into the Mekong River last week have located the plane's black boxes, which contain the data from the last minutes of the doomed flight.

But officials say divers have not been able to retrieve the flight data recorders from the river because of strong currents and poor visibility.

A Lao official announced Monday that Prime Minister Thongsing Thammavong has ordered the creation of a task force to look into the crash.

"The Prime Minister had signed an order to set up a task force to investigate the plane crash and look into the cause of the accident as well as recommend action measures to the government. ... The task force is ordered to proceed immediately and quickly," he said.

The French-made ATR-72 turboprop plane crashed last Wednesday as it was flying from the capital of Vientiane to the southern town of Pakse. Bad weather is considered as a possible cause of the accident.

Divers have recovered the bodies of 43 of the 49 who were on board the aircraft when it went down. No one is believed to have survived.

Laos observed a nationwide minute of silence Monday to pay tribute to the victims.

More than half of the 44 passengers on board were foreigners, including nationals of Australia, Canada, China, France, Malaysia, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, the United States and Vietnam. The plane also had five crew members, including a Cambodian captain.

This report was produced in collaboration with VOA's Lao service.

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