Families and Friends Mourn Victims of PMT Airplane Crash

More than 100 friends and relatives of two of the Cambodian crew members who died aboard PMT Air Flight U4 241 after it crashed June 25 gathered June 28 morning at Phnom Penh’s Wat Langka to pray for the souls of the deceased.

A PMT Air executive also said representatives of the air carrier’s insurance company had arrived in the capital Thursday to assess possible claims for compensation.

Cambodian and South Korean Embassy officials said the bodies of all 13 of the plane’s South Korean passengers had also been identified and would be flown home this evening, accompanied by 18 of their family members as well as senior Cambodian officials.

Chan Seth, 41, widow of 43-year-old flight engineer Hean Chandara, a nephew of National Assembly President Heng Samrin, said the Soviet-trained crewmember left behind a 17-year-old son and an eight-year-old daughter. “I am sad to have lost him,” she said in tears.

Co-pilot Uth Chandara, 46, left behind a wife, a 14-year-old son and a six-year-old daughter.

“He was clever,” Eang Sophoan, 38, said of her deceased husband. “His eyes were so nice.”

At the ceremony, PMT Air Di­rector Sar Sareth presented the families of each of the men with $1,000 toward funerary expenses but declined to answer questions.

“The results of the investigation are not yet known,” he said.

However Pol Boren, PMT Air Sales Manager, said representatives of a London insurer, the name of which he could not recall, had arrived in Phnom Penh and might allow compensation to be paid following their assessments.

“I am sure compensation will be paid,” he said. “But I don’t yet know when or how much.” PMT Air’s entire fleet was fully insured as required by the government, he said.

“We have insurance for all aircraft,” he said. The bodies of Uth Chandara and Hean Chandara were to be cremated at Wat Lang­ka this morning, he said.

A South Korean Embassy official said the bodies of all 13 South Korean victims had been positively identified by South Korean forensic experts.

Ly Thuch, second vice president of the National Committee for Disaster Management, said by telephone after leaving a ceremony held for the South Korean victims at Calmette Hospital that a cortege of 13 vehicles would transport each of the bodies individually to Phnom Penh International Air­port June 27 evening.

Prime Minister Hun Sen has also ordered the creation of an investigative committee with four teams to investigate the site of the crash, the contents of the plane’s two flight data recorders and the circumstances at the departure and arrival airports.

“No one can open black boxes besides the manufacturer,” Ly Thuch said. “I firmly believe that under the command of Samdech Hun Sen, the results from the black boxes will be made public very soon.”

  (Additional reporting by Douglas Gillison)


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