No Survivors in Cambodia Plane Crash

KAMPOT, Cambodia --

There were no survivors from a plane that crashed in southern Cambodia early this week with 22 people aboard, including South Korean and Czech tourists, officials said Wednesday.

A helicopter spotted the crash site for the first time early Wednesday after some 1,000 soldiers and police mounted a two-day search by land and air through treacherous jungle in monsoon weather.

"This is a tragedy no one should have to experience," Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen said at a news conference in Kampot province, where the plane went down on Monday.

The Russian-made An-24 aircraft operated by PMT Air crashed during a storm while flying between Siem Reap - site of the famed Angkor Wat temple complex - and Sihanoukville on the southern coast. Sith Sakal, head of security at Cambodia's Secretariat of Civil Aviation, said rescuers retrieved the plane's flight data recorder, which could hold crucial information about the conditions leading to the disaster.

He said the government will send the data recorder to Russia for analysis.

Thirteen South Korean and three Czech tourists were on board, as well as five Cambodian airline employees and a citizen of Uzbekistan, officials said.

PMT Air is a small Cambodia airline that began flights in January from Siem Reap to Sihanoukville, a new domestic route launched by the government to spur the country's burgeoning tourism industry.

Sar Sareth, the airline's director, said Tuesday that he did not know what year the crashed plane was built, but added that it was in "good condition" before taking off from Siem Reap on Monday.

"It was always in compliance with flight technical and safety procedures. But we cannot say anything yet (about the cause) because information is on the flight recorder," he said.


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