4 Vietnamese among dead in Laos air crash

TN News

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Belongings of victims of an air crash that took place in Laos October 16. Forty nine people, including five crew members, are feared dead

Four Vietnamese were among 49 people killed when a Lao Airlines aircraft plunged into the Mekong River in southern Laos Wednesday afternoon due to bad weather caused by Typhoon Nari.

Three of the four Le Hue, his wife Dao Thi Lieu, and daughter Phomasone Chinda -- belonged to Pakse city in Champasak Province, according to the airline manifest.

Vuong Thi Ngan, another to perish, was a Vietnamese-Canadian.

Lao Airlines and the Lao Ministry of Transportation said in a statement there were 44 passengers and five crew members on board flight QV301.

There were also passengers from China, France, South Korea, the US, Taiwan, and Thailand.

Officials from various embassies and consulates, including that of Vietnam, visited the accident site Thursday morning to assist rescuers.

So far three bodies have been found and kept at a pagoda in Pakse.

According to Lao Airlines, the French-made turboprop ATR72 took off from Wattay Airport in Vientiane for Pakse at 2:45 p.m.

When it was preparing to land about an hour later, the plane crashed into the river eight kilometers from the Pakse airport.

The airline said the crash occured possibly due to bad weather conditions caused by Typhoon Nari, and promised more information later Thursday.

Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper reported that the pilot attempted to land despite being warned by the Pakse control tower that visibility was poor.

The aircraft crashed into an island, broke in two and sank, it said.

The Lao Ministry of Public Works and Transport said in a statement that Lao Airlines is taking "all necessary steps" to coordinate and dispatch rescue units to the accident site to find survivors and inform victims' families, Bangkok Post newspaper reported.

The release also said "there was no news of survivors at this time."

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