Military plane crash kills Lao government officials
BANGKOK — A military plane carrying senior Lao government officials crashed on Saturday in a wooded area as it approached an airport in the country's northeast, killing at least five people, including the defense minister and other high-ranking members of the authoritarian country's ruling party.
Lao National Television showed video of the mangled wreckage of the plane, with smoke rising from its charred remains. The footage showed rescuers pulling pieces of aircraft debris and trying to dig through the remaining fuselage with shovels as medical crews watched.
About 18 people were believed to be on board the plane, which left Vientiane, Laos' capital, early Saturday to bring the group to an official ceremony in Xiangkhoung province, about 290 miles away, said Thai Foreign Ministry spokesman Sek Wannamethee. Earlier reports had said about 20 people were on board.
The Ukrainian-made Antonov AN-74TK-300 crashed in Xiangkhoung's Pek district, where authorities were “helping to rescue the survivors,” according to Lao state news agency KPL, which cited an announcement from the prime minister's office. The brief official statement did not say how many people had been killed in the crash or survived.
Among those confirmed killed were Defense Minister Douangchay Phichit and his wife, said Nipat Thonglek, the Thai Defense Ministry's permanent secretary.
Douangchay was also one of Laos' deputy prime ministers and a high-ranking member of its Politburo, the main decision-making body for the nation's all-powerful Lao People's Revolutionary Party, which has ruled the single-party state since 1975.
Others killed in the crash included Minister of Public Security Thongbane Sengaphone, Vientiane Gov. Sukhan Mahalad and at least one other senior ruling party official, Sek said. He said he was given the information by authorities in neighboring Laos who did not immediately release details about the other passengers.
“The accident happened as the plane was about to land at Xiangkhoung airport,” said Sek.
The airport is near one of Laos' major archaeological sites, the Plain of Jars. Xiangkhoung province borders northwestern Vietnam.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- PLO offers truce as at least 100 killed in Gaza
- Shelling adds to mounting civilian toll in Ukraine
- Afghan ballot recount paused as candidate disagree over criteria to scrap ballots
- Libya torn by worst fighting since 2011 revolution
- Israeli leader signals no quick end to Gaza conflict
- Syrian casualties surge amid rise in attacks by Islamic State
- Iraq’s split into 3 states becomes a reality
- ‘Explosion of evil’ in Europe against Jews condemned
- Pakistani mob attacks minority Muslims, suffocates 3 over Facebook rumor
- Obama, European leaders agree to new Russia sanctions