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Search for Laos plane's black box -

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ELIZABETH JACKSON: Twenty-six bodies have now been found in the Mekong River since the Lao Air crash on Wednesday. However, authorities have still been unable to locate the fuselage of the plane which is submerged.

Australian Federal Police have also arrived in the country to help with identification of the bodies.

Zoe Daniel spoke with the Thai consul general for the Savannakhet region of Laos, Russ Jalichandra.

RUSS JALICHANDRA: There are some difficulties because the plane crashed into the river, which is quite a wide area. What makes matter worse is that current is very strong and the water is quite muddy, so that makes the efforts quite difficult for us to retrieve the bodies.

Right now we have not been able - at this moment, we have not been able to locate main body of the plane yet.

ZOE DANIEL: Can you explain why that is? For example, is there not a black box recorder or some sort of EPIRB (Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon) on the fuselage that should be emitting a signal?

RUSS JALICHANDRA: That's one thing that the experts are trying to find out about. Right now, we have the team from Toulouse, the ART (Aircraft Recovery Team) builders - they're already here, this afternoon at three o'clock, now they are at the crash site trying to locate the black box which hopefully is still intact.

ZOE DANIEL: What would you suggest? It's the wet season and as you said, the river is very deep and wide. How deep is it likely that the fuselage is?

RUSS JALICHANDRA: It's wide, but it's not that deep, but now it's the rainy season so the level of the water is quite high. But the depth is not the problem itself; the problem itself is the current and the murky water that is hampering the visibility. So that makes it difficult but not the depth per se.

ZOE DANIEL: Just describe the assistance that Thailand is giving, and I understand you're bringing in further assistance today.

RUSS JALICHANDRA: The first team to arrive are mostly volunteers, Thai volunteers, lead by our deputy governor of Ubon Ratchathani, who is in charge because we don't have a governor right now. He's in charge in bringing in the volunteers to help first stage, and now we're bringing in more expert team from the Thai Royal Navy divers and as well as the experts from the Thai Royal Air Force to help locate the plane in the water.

ZOE DANIEL: And what about the recovery of the bodies? How is that going, as far as you're concerned?

RUSS JALICHANDRA: As far as I understand, as far as my information is concerned, all the bodies - the divers didn't dive in, but they float around. Some are swept by the current as far as 40, 50 kilometres down the river.

The plane has already broken, maybe in half, but we still think that the main part of the plane is still under the water where most of the bodies still inside.

ELIZABETH JACKSON: That's the Thai consul general for the Savannakhet region of Laos, Russ Jalichandra, speaking to our correspondent Zoe Daniel.