Airplane Crash Wreckage Scavenged by Villagers

Government and airline officials appeared to be unfazed Aug 6 by reports that villagers had scavenged nearly all of the wreckage from June’s PMT Air plane crash in Kampot province.

Kampot deputy provincial Go­vernor Khoy Khun Hua said that villagers had taken most of the wreckage to sell as scrap metal, but added that he was not concerned.

“We have finished our work,” he said, adding that debris from the plane was not needed in the ongoing investigation of the crash. “It’s not important to have the crashed plane,” he said.

Eng Sour Sdey, undersecretary of state for the State Secretariat of Civil Aviation, also said that the remains of the downed airplane were not important. “We don’t need the plane crash debris,” he said. “All we need is the black box to find out the cause of the crash.”

Twenty-two people, including 13 South Koreans, were killed when PMT Air Flight U4 241 from Siem Reap International Airport to Sihanoukville’s Kang Keng Airport went down in the heavily forested mountains of Kampot on June 25. Although the plane’s two flight data recorders, also known as black boxes, are still being analyzed in Russia, government officials have previously attributed the crash to bad weather.

PMT Airline President Sar Sareth said that he is pleased the villagers collected the scattered debris because it saved his company from having to do it themselves.

“We allowed the villagers to take the scrap because we would have spent a lot of money to transport the debris,” he said, adding that what was left of the plane was more valuable to the villagers than to his company.

SRP lawmaker Son Chhay said Aug 6 that it was irresponsible to leave the crash site unsecured.

An official at the South Korean Embassy declined to comment.

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