Laos’ rescue force has found the bodies of 17 victims killed in a recent plane crash, but has failed to verify their names and nationalities, the Lao Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement on October 18.

The force is now focusing on searching around the banks of the Mekong River in Laos where the ATR 72 aircraft crashed on October 16, sparing no efforts in their hunt for the plane’s fuselage.

On the same day, Lao officials updated the list of 44 passengers onboard. It includes 16 Lao nationals, seven French, six Australian, five Thai, three Vietnamese and three Republic of Korea nationals. The remaining passengers are from China, Malaysia, Taiwan (China) and the US.

The ATR 72 airplane was flying from the capital Vientiane to southern Pakse city on October 16, going down in the Mekong River, only 10 km from Pakse airport.

The cause of the crash is under investigation. The airplane was put into operation by the national carrier Lao Airlines in March.

Operating since 1976, Lao Airlines runs seven domestic routes and international flights to China, Cambodia, Thailand, Vietnam and Singapore . It transported 658,000 passengers last year./.