No word on survivors after Laos plane crash; Canadian among 49 passengers

BANGKOK – The Lao government said a Laos Airlines flight crashed today in the Southeast Asian country, apparently killing all 49 people aboard, including one passenger from Canada and passengers from 10 other countries.

The Ministry of Public Works and Transport, which operates the airline as a state enterprise, said 44 passengers and five crew members were aboard flight QV301 from the Lao capital, Vientiane, to Pakse in the country’s south.

Earlier reports had said there were 39 passengers on board.

The ministry said in a statement that upon preparing to land at Pakse Airport the aircraft ran into bad weather and reportedly crashed into the Mekong River.

It said there was no word of survivors. The airline flies an ATR-72 twin-engine turboprop plane on the 467-kilometre route.

Thai foreign ministry spokesman Sek Wannamethee said his country’s embassy in Vientiane was informed that the plane crashed seven to eight kilometres 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.

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