Laos recovers crashed plane's black boxes

(File: AAP)

Divers have found the flight data recorders from the Lao Airlines plane that crashed in the Mekong, killing all 49 people on board, including six Aussies.

Search teams have recovered the flight data recorders of a Lao Airlines plane that plunged into the Mekong River in bad weather killing all 49 people on board, including six Australians.

The black boxes, which include both voice and data recordings, were found early on Thursday as part of efforts to recover the stricken aircraft from the river's fast-flowing waters, according to Yakua Lopankao, director-general of Laos' Department of Civil Aviation.

"It has not yet been decided where to send them to be examined, it is up to the air accident investigation committee," he said of the operation, which has been assisted by experts from the French aviation safety agency BEA.

The Lao Airlines turboprop ATR-72 plummeted into the Mekong as it went to land in the southern town of Pakse on October 16 in the country's worst air disaster.

More than half of the 49 passengers and crew were foreigners from some 10 countries.

So far 47 bodies have been recovered, some many kilometres downstream from the crash site as rescuers battled strong currents along the swollen river.

Of that number, at least 43 have been identified, according to a Lao Airlines statement on Wednesday.

"Our efforts remain focused on caring for the bereaved families of the victims and doing what we can to alleviate the trauma they are suffering and assist them as much as possible at this difficult time," it said.

According to a passenger list released by the airline, there were 16 Laotians, seven French travellers, six Australians, five Thais, three South Koreans, two Vietnamese, and one national each from the United States, Canada, Malaysia, China and Taiwan.

Among the six Australians on board was a family of four on a three-week holiday.

They were Sydney tax agent Gavin Rhodes, 39, his wife Phoumalaysy (Lea) Rhodes, 35, their three-year-old daughter Jadesuda and 17-month-old son Manfred.

The other two Australians were a father and son - Michael Creighton, a 42-year-old aid worker and bomb disposal expert based in Laos, and his father, Gordon Creighton, 71, a retired teacher who was visiting.

The carrier has said the aircraft hit "extreme" bad weather, while witnesses described seeing the plane buffeted by strong winds before plummeting into the Mekong.

There were also five crew, including the Cambodian captain.

Source AAP

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