Thursday, August 19, 2010

Three Thai Government Officials Die in Tragic Helicopter Accident

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The bodies of three Natural Resources & Environment Ministry officials and those of a pilot and mechanic have been found dead following Tuesday’s tragic helicopter accident in the northern province of Nan. The five men had been on their way to open a reforestation project in the province.

Nan, the 18th of August 2010: The helicopter, having disappeared from air traffic control radar and lost radio contact, went down in the mountainous region of Na Muean, Nan province. Heavy monsoonal storms were hitting the region at the time of the crash.

The helicopter took off from Phitsanulok province on Tuesday and was headed to the Chalerm Prakiat district of Nan, where the Natural Resources & Environment Ministry officials were due to open a reforestation project.

The bodies of all five men were discovered by rescue teams on Wednesday, with access to the remote region restricting their efforts. The deceased are, the Natural Resources & Environment Ministry permanent secretary Saksit Tridej, advisor to the Royal Household Bureau Sahat Bunyawiwat, Director of the Office for Response to Royal Initiatives Kowit Panyatrong along with pilot Major Jenwit Arunsawat and mechanic Lance Corporal Vitoon Yenngeun.

Natural Resource & Environment Ministry officials, doctors and police flew by helicopter to the site where the wreckage was discovered on Wednesday, where forensic investigations were conducted at the scene.

A C-130 transport aircraft will bring the bodies of all the deceased back to Bangkok were Buddhist rituals and a Royally sponsored funeral will take place.

Meanwhile, Minister of the Natural Resources & Environment Ministry, Suwit Khunkitti declared the tragic accident a disaster, expressing his deep regret over the losses and his resolve to find out the cause of the crash.

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