Cargo Plane Crash-Lands in Kandal; 2 Hurt

kandal stung district, Kandal province – A cargo plane en route to Singapore made a crash landing around 20 km south of Phnom Penh on Wednesday night apparently after one of its engines was struck by lightning, officials said.

All five crew and passengers on­board Imtrec Aviation Co Ltd’s Rus­sian-made Antonov-12 cargo plane—four Uzbek crew members and one female Chinese na­tional—survived the crash, said Nhim Van­da, first vice president for the Na­tional Committee for Disaster Management.

The pilot broke his left leg and the plane’s technician suffered an injury to his head in the crash landing, Nhim Vanda said, adding that the injured were treated at Cal­mette Hospital in Phnom Penh.

This is the second Antonov aircraft to crash in Cambodia this year. In June, PMT Air Flight U4 241 crashed in the mountains of Kampot province killing all 22 aboard.

The latest plane to crash was flying from Phnom Penh to Singa­pore with 11 tons of garments produced by the Sabrina (Cambodia) Garment Manufacturing Corp. It had flown approximately 140 km before being struck by lightning just outside Kampot province, Nhim Vanda said at the crash site.

“So the pilot decided to fly back [to Phnom Penh],” he said. “Six minutes later the plane went down,” Nhim Vanda added.

Debris from the plane was scattered 300 meters from the crash site and local villagers were seen scavenging twisted pieces of metal torn from the aircraft on Thursday morning.

Mao Havannall, secretary of state for State Secretariat of Civil Avia­tion, said that a crash investigation was still ongoing, but he added that the pilot reported that lightning caused the engine to malfunction.

He said that it is common for car­go aircraft to fly at night.

Kandal Stung District Governor Bun Theng said that villagers from Doeum Reus commune who were fishing in nearby flooded rice fields spotted the plane as it went down at around 10:20 pm.

“Our forces cooperated with Prime Minister Hun Sen’s bodyguards and then started to look for [the plane],” he said.

Soun Phirun, deputy commander of the prime minister’s bodyguard unit, said that 120 bodyguards searched for the plane be­fore discovering its location at 11:50 pm. “When we found it, we helped the five passengers,” he said.

Officials at Phnom Penh-based Imtrec Aviation could not be reach­ed by telephone Thursday and did not respond to e-mailed requests for comment.

Kem Channarith, air-worthiness inspector for the SSCA, said by telephone that officials are investigating the crash and would have more in­formation today.

He added that he was unsure when the Antonov-12 was last in­spected for safety.

“We will check over our documents,” Kem Channarith said, add­ing that he was still at crash site.

Staffers at Sabrina Garment de­clin­ed to comment Thursday.

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