Local fishermen hooked over Vietnam warplane wreckage found in Mekong

Photo via Bangkokbiznews

Thai and Lao men discovered the wreckage of a Vietnam warplane while fishing in the Mekong River within the Isaan province of Nong Khai. In light of safety concerns, locals have been banned from accessing the site, given the potential presence of explosives within the wreckage.

A 40 year old Thai man, Chonnathep Suriwong, shared his account of finding the warplane wreckage with the media and authorities yesterday, January 23. He explained that he and his Lao friends were fishing in the Mekong when their net became entangled underwater. Upon closer inspection, they realised that the net had become ensnared on a plane propeller.

Chonnathep promptly reported his discovery to the community leader, who, in turn, notified the relevant salvage departments for a comprehensive investigation.

Bangkokbiznews reported that the plane was discovered in the Baan Pak Mang community in the Tha Bor district of Nong Khai province. Some parts of the plane were revealed, and about 20% of its body was submerged under the bottom of the river at a depth of only 1 to 1.2 metres due to the falling water level.

Officers from the Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) and a rescue team investigated the aircraft. Authorities have gathered some components of the plane, but the complete fuselage recovery is scheduled for a later stage. As a precautionary measure, officers have prohibited residents from fishing or entering the area, citing the potential presence of explosives within the plane.

According to officials, the plane could be a North American T-28 Trojan used in the Vietnam War. The roof of the cockpit was torn off, and the engine room was filled with sand.

Old locals in the area believe the plane was used 50 to 60 years ago and that the pilot was a Laotian. They recounted a tragic accident that occurred at that time to the media saying the plane accident took place in front of the pilot’s family members, and his wife was pregnant at the time.

The Lao pilot was flying past his home when he was travelling to the northern part of the country. He lowered his altitude but could not hover making the plane fall into the river.

Thailand News

Petch Petpailin

Petpailin, or Petch, is a Thai translator and writer for The Thaiger who focuses on translating breakingThai news stories into English. With a background in field journalism, Petch brings several years of experience to the English News desk at The Thaiger. Before joining The Thaiger, Petch worked as a content writer for several known blogging sites in Bangkok, including Happio and The Smart Local. Her articles have been syndicated by many big publishers in Thailand and internationally, including the Daily Mail, The Sun and the Bangkok Post. She is a news writer who stops reading news on the weekends to spend more time cafe hopping and petting dwarf shrimp! But during office hours, you can find Petch on LinkedIn and you can reach her by email at petch@thethaiger.com.

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