A US team searching for the remains of US military personnel missing in Cambodia during the US war in Vietnam have wrapped up a search in Kompong Thom province’s Baray district, government officials said Monday.
The team entered the area last month and hired local villagers to dig around a suspected helicopter crash site where eight Americans are believed to have died after being shot down by either the North Vietnamese army or Khmer Rouge troops in 1970, said Kompong Thom provincial Governor Nam Tum.
“The American experts had been working for over a month and were looking for the suspected remains of about eight US soldiers killed,” he said.
Nam Tum said the workers found what they believed were human remains, which were transferred to the US team for further analysis before the operation wrapped up on Sunday.
This was the third time the US team has been in the province over the past three years, he said. The US Embassy declined comment.
RCAF Deputy Commander-in-Chief Pol Saroeun said Monday that he had heard remains were found in Kompong Thom and would be taken to Hawaii for analysis but could not provide more details.
According to the US Department of Defense’s Web site, remains suspected of belonging to US personnel are transferred to the Central Identification Laboratory in Hawaii. There, they undergo a variety of tests to determine their origin.
According to a Defense Department press release dated Feb 7, the remains of 28 of a suspected 83 US nationals who went missing in Cambodia have been repatriated and identified. There is no indication of how many were servicemen and how many were civilians.
“Of the remaining 55 Americans still unaccounted for in the country of Cambodia,” the release states, “three are in a ‘no further pursuit’ status, meaning that as a result of rigorous investigation we have conclusive evidence the individual perished, but do not believe it possible to recover his remains.”