Death toll 49 in Laos plane crash

2013-10-17 07:59


Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Bangkok - A plane from Laos' state-run airline crashed in bad weather into the Mekong River in the Southeast Asian nation, apparently killing 49 people from 11 countries, the government said.

Associated Press video from the scene on Thursday morning showed rescuers on the riverside and in small boats on the muddy, vast waterway, but no plane wreckage was visible. The Australian government said it was told no survivors were expected.

The Ministry of Public Works and Transport, which operates Lao Airlines, said 44 passengers and five crew members were on Flight QV301 from the capital, Vientiane, to Pakse in the country's south. Earlier reports had 39 passengers.

"Upon preparing to land at Pakse Airport the aircraft ran into extreme bad weather conditions and was reportedly crashed into the Mekong River," the ministry said in a statement.

The airline flies an ATR 72-600 twin-engine turboprop plane on the 467km route. French maker ATR said the plane that crashed had been delivered in March. The aircraft is configured with 68-74 seats, it said.

Thai Foreign Ministry spokesperson Sek Wannamethee said his country's embassy in Vientiane was informed that the plane crashed 7-8km from the airport at Pakse.

A passenger manifest faxed by the airline listed 44 people: 17 Lao, seven French, five Australians, five Thais, three Koreans, two Vietnamese and one person each from Canada, China, Malaysia, Taiwan and the United States. Korean, French and Thai officials confirmed the totals for their nationalities.

Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade said six Australians were on board. Relatives released a photo of Gavin and Phoumalaysy Rhodes and their two young children, one of whom the airline identified as Lao. The government said the other two Australians were an aid worker based in Laos and his father.

The Lao government said the airline "is taking all necessary steps to co-ordinate and dispatch all rescue units to the accident site in the hope of finding survivors".

However, the Australian foreign affairs statement said, "Lao authorities have told our embassy in Vientiane they do not expect any survivors."

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 be held on Thursday.

ATR issued a statement from its headquarters in Toulouse, France, declaring that it will fully assist the investigation. It said the Lao Airlines plane had been delivered from the production line in March this year.

Read more on:    laos  |  air crashes

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.