A military plane with Laos’ Defense Minister and Deputy PM Douangchay Phichit and other senior officials on board has crashed in the north of the country.
The plane crashed in the province of Xiangkhouang, nearly 300 miles from the capital Vientiane where its journey began.
A military plane with Laos’ Defense Minister and Deputy PM Douangchay Phichit and other senior officials on board has crashed in the north of the country
About 20 people, including the mayor of Vientiane and public security minister, are thought to have been on board.
According to local reports, five bodies have been found at the scene. Other reports say up to three passengers had survived.
Major General Douangchay Phichit is reportedly dead.
The officials are believed to have been travelling to an official ceremony in Xieng Khouang for the 55th anniversary of the Second Division of the Lao People’s Army.
Laos, a landlocked country of about seven million people, has an authoritarian communist one-party government and is one of Asia’s poorest nations.
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A Lao Airlines aircraft on an internal flight has crashed into the Mekong River in southern Laos, media in the region say.
Reports from neighboring Thailand put the number of dead at around 40.
There is no official word from the airline on casualties so far.
An airline official quoted by the Bangkok Post said the plane crashed in bad weather just before it was due to land at Pakse on a flight from the capital Vientiane.
A Lao Airlines official said the plane had crashed at about 4 p.m. near Pakse, Champasak province, which is on the borders of both Thailand and Cambodia.
A Lao Airlines aircraft on an internal flight has crashed into the Mekong River in southern Laos,
Thai television showed a photograph of the ATR 72 turboprop plane partly submerged in shallow water on a stretch of the Mekong, the tail severed. Another television channel showed what appeared to be several bodies on the bank of the river.
“We do not yet know the number of casualties, our executives are currently in a meeting and will provide more details in the morning,” a Lao Airlines official told Reuters.
Lao Airlines is the national carrier of the communist state and has operated since 1976. Its aircraft carried 658,000 passengers last year and it has a fleet of just 14 planes, mostly propeller-driven.