Four bodies have been found so far since a Vietnamese coast guard aircraft crashed into the ocean off the northern coastline last Thursday, one of which appeared to belong to one of the nine crew members aboard the plane.
Two bodies were discovered on Friday morning around 6:45 and 8:30, as rescuers continued their search for the remains of aircraft CASA-212 8983, and another dressed in a pilot uniform and carrying several personal documents was found around 4:00 pm on Thursday.
The corpse discovered Thursday evening was found by local fishing boats at a location about seven nautical miles northeast of Bach Long Vi Island off the northern city of Hai Phong, Do Duc Hoa, chairman of the People’s Committee of the island, confirmed to Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper.
The body has been transferred to the hospital ship HQ 561 of the Vietnam People’s Navy to begin the preservation and identification process.
Based on the personal documents found with the body, examiners believe that it belongs to Major Nguyen Van Chinh, one of the nine people aboard the aircraft, a naval official affirmed on Thursday evening.
The first body was spotted near Bach Long Vi by a rescue craft on Wednesday evening which is unable to provide identification for the deceased until a thorough post-mortem examination is conducted.
An engine of the aircraft CASA-212 is seen underwater in this photo provided by search and rescue teams.
The Spanish-made CASA-212 aircraft, carrying nine members of a search crew and captained by Colonel Le Kiem Toan, lost contact around 12:30 pm on June 16 while flying 44 nautical miles southwest of Bach Long Vi.
The coast guard aircraft took off from the Gia Lam military airport in Hanoi the same day to carry out a mission to search for the then-missing pilot of a crashed Russian-made fighter jet whose body was found last Friday drifting 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.
Rescue teams under the Ministry of National Defense revealed on Thursday morning that the crashed aircraft CASA-212 was located 50 to 60 meters underwater, about 15 nautical miles southeast of Bach Long Vi, after spotting the plane’s engine.
Other debris was salvaged later the same day, including a piece of the plane’s fuselage with the number ‘8983’ on it.
A piece of the plane’s fuselage with the number ‘8983’ on it