Plane crashes in stormy weather, Canadian among the dead
Wednesday, October 16, 2013, 7:22 -
A Lao Airlines plane crashed into the Mekong river in southern Laos Wednesday. No survivors have been reported.
The plane was carrying five crew members and 44 passengers -- including nationals of 10 countries.
Referring to an initial report, Chalerm Taiyalad, vice-president at Lao Airlines, said wind gusts from the remnants of Typhoon Nari caused the pilots to lose control of the ATR 72 aircraft.
The victims include 17 Laotian passengers and five cabin crew members, seven French, five Australians, five Thais, three Koreans, one American, one Canadian, one Chinese, one Malaysian, one Vietnamese, and one Taiwanese, Taiyalad said.
No explanation was offered for the discrepancy between that total -- 48 -- and the 49 cited as dead, but Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade said that six Australians were aboard the flight.
"Lao authorities have told our embassy in Vientiane (the Laotian capital) they do not expect any survivors," it said.
The ATR propeller plane was preparing to land when a gust of wind appeared to push it away from the airport, and it crashed on or near an island in the Mekong River, reported KPL, the national news agency.
An investigation is underway to determine the exact cause of the crash.
Remnants of Typhoon Nari have dumped more than 99 mm of rain on Pakse since Tuesday. The plane was headed from Vientiane to Pakse, an official with the Thai Foreign Ministry said.
With files from Reuters and CNN