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Frogmen Find Voice Recorder in Thai Crash

September 01, 1987|From Times Wire Services

PHUKET, Thailand — Frogmen today located the cockpit voice recorder and recovered several bodies from the wreckage of a Thai airliner that plunged into the sea off the resort island of Phuket, killing all 83 people aboard.

The voice recorder tapes conversations of the crew and may explain why the Thai Airways Boeing 737 crashed about 540 miles southwest of Bangkok on Monday, said Lt. Col. Plodpai Pirathan, deputy commander of provincial marine police.

Capt. Nikom Boonprasert, head of Thai Airways' Boeing 737 fleet, said that as of 5 p.m., 39 bodies had been recovered. Officials said there appeared to be no hope for any survivors.

Thai Airway's Phuket manager, Narong Yantaragorn, said, "We have established the location of the black box, but believe it to be lodged in some crevice."

Workers planned to retrieve the voice recorder after senior police officials arrived from Bangkok.

The cause of the crash remained unclear today.

Air Marshal Narong Narong Dithipeng said the jet plunged into the Andaman Sea eight miles short of Phuket International Airport after nearly colliding with a Boeing 737 owned by Hong Kong-based Dragonair that also was descending on the airport.

But Dragon Airlines Ltd. denied the claim in a statement issued in Hong Kong today, saying the Thai jet was "at a considerable distance" from the Dragonair jetliner "and at a different flight path at a different altitude."

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