Maj Gen Kosol Prathumchart, commander of the 33rd Military Circle in Chiang Mai, confirmed that searchers had found the bodies and the wreckage yesterday (Aug 15).
The body of Maj Gen Nopporn had been identified and confirmed, he said.
The huge search and rescue operation, involving 400 soldiers split into 40 teams, found the crashed UH-72 Lakota helicopter about two kilometres southwest of the air force’s Doi Inthanon radar station in Mae Chaem district about 1:20pm.
Four of the bodies were found about a kilometre from the debris an hour later. The fifth was reported to have been in the wreckage.
The spot is 82km from Pang Ma Pha district of Mae Hong Son where the helicopter took off at 10:30am on Sunday and 2,445 metres above sea level.
Maj Gen Kosol said the forested area was covered with thick fog and visibility was down to five to 10 metres.
The UH-72 Lakota helicopter of the 3rd Army, which was put into service last year, was returning to Phitsanulok after completing a flood relief operation in Mae Hong Son when it disappeared on the country’s highest peak.
On board were Maj-Gen Nopporn, Capt Suthan Onmuang and Lt Navapat Maneechote, the two pilots, and Chief Warrant Officer Chaisakda Thaso and Sgt Maj Mongkolchai Roo-ngan, the flight engineers.
The chief of Doi Inthanon National Park, Poenthep Chareonsuabsakul, said he was informed by the soldiers at the crash site that Maj Gen Nopporn was found inside the wrecked helicopter, while the other four were found a short distance away.
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