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Bodies recovered in Mekong after Laos plane crash

PAKSE, Laos — Rescuers in fishing boats pulled bodies from the muddy Mekong River on Thursday as officials in Laos ruled out finding survivors from a plane that crashed in stormy weather, killing 49 people from 10 countries, including the United States.

Backpacks, two broken propellers and passports were among the debris on the riverbank where the Lao Airlines turboprop plane left deep skid marks in the ground before disappearing into the water Wednesday.

Thai Foreign Ministry spokesman Sek Wannamethee said search teams recovered the bodies of 15 crash victims Thursday. He said they were unable to immediately identify them.

Thailand, which lost five nationals in the crash, is deeply involved in the search, providing skilled manpower and technology that its poorer neighbor lacks.

State-run Lao Airlines released a second updated list of the 44 passengers' nationalities Thursday. It listed one person from the United States. .

The area where the plane crashed is off the main tourist circuit in Laos, but known for its remote Buddhist temples, nature treks and waterfalls.

Lao Airlines said Wednesday that the plane took off from the capital, Vientiane, and "ran into extreme bad weather conditions" as it prepared to land at Pakse Airport. It crashed about 4 miles from the airport.

The cause of the crash has not yet been determined, the airline said.