Sunday, September 23, 2007

Mystery aircraft explosion over Cambodia

Locals state that an aircraft exploded and debris fell to the ground near the rugged mountaintop temple of Preah Vihear in Cambodia.

A loud explosion in the sky rocked Preah Vihear province on Wednesday, with debris from a small unmanned aircraft falling 17 km from the province's historical temple, local media said on Friday.

After the explosion, a piece of debris weighing around 20 kg fell on Ta Mey village in Choam Khsan district, said Nuth Teng, a provincial army bureau chief, adding that the unmanned aircraft may have belonged to the Thai military.

Cambodian aviation officials assumed that the debris came from a remote controlled aircraft, saying that it could be a Thai training plane, reported Cambodian-language newspaper the Moneaksekar Khmer.

Witnesses at the time thought the sound was an airplane exploding in mid-air, reported another Cambodian-language newspaper the Kampuchea Thmey.

"It may have accidentally shot out from a (military) exercise in Thailand," Nuth Teng said, adding that investigators after the incident tried to collect and reassemble the craft but were unable to say exactly what it was, reported English-language newspaper the Cambodia Daily.

Thai officials denied at the time that such an incident had occurred, it added.

Cambodian Defense Minister Tea Banh has yet to show any reaction to the issue, reasoning that he had not been fully informed of the incident.

The explosion did not kill or injure any villagers.

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