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Unidentified body found near location of crashed Vietnamese coast guard plane

Unidentified body found near location of crashed Vietnamese coast guard plane

Thursday, June 23, 2016, 16:15 GMT+7

An unidentified body has been found as rescue units were searching for the Vietnamese coast guard aircraft that crashed off the northern coastline last week.

Rescue teams under the Ministry of National Defense revealed on Thursday morning that the crashed aircraft CASA-212 8983 was located 50 to 60 meters underwater at an area about 15 nautical miles southeast of Bach Long Vi Island off the northern city of Hai Phong.

According to the Vietnam Government Portal, an engine of the plane was spotted some 60 meters under the ocean surface at around 10:00 am.

Deputy Prime Minister Trinh Dinh Dung, chairman of the Vietnam National Search and Rescue Committee, has ordered rescuers to focus on salvaging the engine, as well as extending the search for nine members of the flight crew and other remains of the plane.

One of the rescue crafts also found a body near the maritime area on Wednesday night, a commander of the Vietnam People’s Navy confirmed to Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper on Thursday afternoon.

The corpse is now being preserved, pending a post-mortem examination to figure out its identity.

The Spanish-made CASA-212 aircraft, carrying nine members of a search crew and captained by Colonel Le Kiem Toan, lost contact at around 12:30 pm on June 16 while flying 44 nautical miles southwest of Bach Long Vi Island.

The coast guard aircraft had earlier the same day taken off from the Gia Lam military airport in Hanoi to carry out a mission to search for the then-missing pilot of a crashed Russian-made fighter jet, whose body was found drifting last Friday at a location 33 nautical miles from Hon Me Islet off the north-central province of Thanh Hoa.

The fighter jet of the Vietnamese air force went off radar screens on Tuesday last week, with one pilot confirmed dead and the other brought to safety.

The CASA-212 plane is believed to have crashed at sea, after its debris, including fragments of the fuselage, wings and landing gear, was salvaged last Friday morning about 13 to 15 nautical miles southwest of Bach Long Vi.

During an interview with Tuoi Tre, Senior Lieutenant General Vo Van Tuan, Deputy Chief of the General Staff of the Vietnam People's Army, stated that the black box of the CASA-212 had not been found.

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