Plane crashes in Laos: 49 dead
A Lao Airlines passenger aircraft crashed on Wednesday during landing. The accident has been attributed to strong rain and wind in the south of Laos.
Forty-nine people, of whom forty-four were passengers, were killed in the collision, which took place at 4pm, during landing at Pakse airport, near the border with Thailand, according to Chalerm Taiyalad, vice-president of Lao Airlines.
According to a report drafted soon after the accident, Taiyalad said that gusts from the remnants of Typhoon Nari appeared to have caused the pilots to lose control of the ATR 72 aircraft.
Amongst the victims were 17 Laotian passengers and crew, seven French, six Australians, five Thais, three Koreans, one Vietnamese, an American, a Canadian, a Chinese, a Malaysian and one Taiwanese. No explanation has been offered as to the discrepancy between the totals of victims quoted separately as forty-four or forty-nine.
The Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade confirmed that there were 6 Australians on board. Their Embassy in Vientiane was told by the Laotian authorities that they did not expect to find any other survivors.
The ATR propeller plane was preparing to land when a gust of wind appeared to push it away from the airport, and caused the collision with an island in the Mekong River, reported KPL, the national news agency.
The plane was flying from Vientiane to Pakse, where 10cm of rain had fallen since Tuesday as a result of typhoon Nari.