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Plane crashes near Pakse airport, Laos

All 49 onboard killed

October 16, 2013

A Lao Airlines flight crashed Wednesday in the Southeast Asian nation, apparently killing all 49 people aboard, including passengers from 11 countries, the Lao government said.

Thai Foreign Ministry spokesman Sek Wannamethee said his country’s embassy in Vientiane was informed that the plane crashed 4-5 miles from the airport at Pakse.

The plane belonging to state-run Lao Airlines crashed in bad weather just before it was due to land at Pakse airport.

The Ministry of Public Works and Transport, which operates the airline as a state enterprise, said 44 passengers and five crew members were aboard flight QV301 from the Lao capital, Vientiane, to Pakse in the country’s south. The airline flies an ATR 72-600 twin-engine turboprop plane on the 290-mile route.

The route between the capital Vientiane and Pakse is popular with the growing numbers of tourists visiting Laos, says BBC South-East Asia correspondent Jonathan Head.

The Lao transport ministry statement said the crash is being investigated and the airline hoped to announce its findings on Thursday. A Lao Airlines employee contacted by phone at Vientiane’s Wattay airport said a news conference would held Thursday.

The aircraft’s maker, ATR, issued a statement from its headquarters in Toulouse, France, declaring it will provide full assistance under international aviation rules to the investigation body. It said the Lao Airlines plane had been delivered from the production line in March.

Lao Airlines is a small company with just 14 aircraft in its fleet and until now has had a good safety record.

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