A military aircraft carrying the defense minister of Laos and has crashed, according to foreign ministry spokespersons from Thailand. Early reports indicate few survivors.
A Thai official, basing his comments on reports from neighboring Laos on Saturday, has said a plane carrying the defense minister of Laos and other prominent officials has crashed. According to news agencies, Sek Wannamethee of the Thai foreign ministry said the plane crashed in the northeastern province of Xiang Khoung after taking of from Vientiane, the capital of Laos.
The Reuters news agency quoted an unnamed source from the defense ministry of Laos as saying "a Laos air force plane has crashed on its way to Xiang Khouang province in the north of the country. The mayor of Vientiane, the defense minister of Laos and his wife were on board."
The exact number of people on board is still not available, but there are some reports that 14 people were killed, including the defense minister, Douangchay Phichit. In addition, it appears three people have survived the crash.
So far there has been no official word from the government of Laos, which is known for its secrecy.
Last October, a civilian aircraft operated by Lao Airlines crashed into the Mekong River, killing all 49 on board. That crash occurred during a heavy storm.
mz/av (Reuters, AP, AFP)