Rescue workers manage to retrieve the body of the pilot of an aerochute/paramotor from the reservoir behind Pasak Jolasid Dam in Phatthana Nikhom district of Lop Buri province this afternoon (Sunday), after more than 24 hours of searching.

About 30 rescue workers, including ten divers from the Ruam Katanyu, Por Teck Tung and Pong Lai foundations, in five boats and on two jet skis scoured the lake last night until about 3am, when the search was called off due to strong winds. The search resumed this morning.

The passenger on the paramotor, identified only as “Mak”, was rescued from the water by fishermen yesterday.

It is reported that the paramotor pilot, identified as “Manop”, could not swim and tried to cling on to the flying machine, which eventually sank after it plunged into the reservoir after experiencing engine problems, reportedly due to air turbulence, as it was flying over the dam.

A rescue worker said that they placed a buoy at the spot where the chute was found and cut all the chords which were tied to it.

The ill-fated two-man aircraft took off from Haad Leb Yao, in Wang Muang district of Saraburi.

After developing engine trouble, the pilot tried to land, but ditched in the lake about 300 metres from land. The pilot jumped into the lake before the machine hit the water, while Mak stayed with it.

Mak can swim and stayed afloat until he was rescued, but Manop is believed to have drowned.

Divers found the body of 61-year-old Manop at a depth of about five metres, about 50 metres from the spot where the flying machine ditched in the lake. His body was retrieved and handed over to Phatthana Nikhom police to be sent to for an autopsy.

A paramotor expert, Cholawit Khun-in, explained that there are two reasons for an emergency landing of a paramotor. Firstly, strong wind can cause the paramotor to lose the balance and, secondly, an equipment malfunction.

In this case, he said a strong wind caused the engine to shut down, adding that he assumes that the pilot attempted to land on the shore, but there were many people there at the time, so he may have decided to ditch in the lake, 400-500 metres from the shore.

Cholawit also pointed out that, normally, there is no life-saving gear on board a paramotor and he suggested that pilots and their passengers wear life jackets as a precaution.



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