44 dead in Laos plane crash: Thai official

44 dead in Laos plane crash: Thai official

A Lao Airlines plane carrying 44 people from the capital Vientiane to the southern town of Pakse crashed killing all on board today, a Thai foreign ministry spokesman said.

Laos officials said the plane carrying 39 passengers and five crew went down around eight kilometres (five miles) from the airport in Champasak province in southern Laos, according to Thai foreign ministry spokesman Sek Wannamethee.

"I can now confirm, according to our reports, that all 44 people on board have died, including five Thai," he told AFP.

Thailand's English language Bangkok Post reported that the plane had ditched into the Mekong River in bad weather at it tried to land at Pakse airport.

Pictures on Thai television showed a plane, half submerged in the river, with what appeared to be bodies lying on the banks.

A spokesman from ATR in France confirmed the crash and told AFP that the state-owned Lao Airlines flight was one of its ATR-72 planes.

An official at the Vietnamese Embassy in Laos told AFP on condition of anonymity that all on board the plane had been killed.

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