BBC News – Laos Defence Minister Douangchay Phichit’s plane crashes

Laos Defence Minister Douangchay Phichit (2004 file photo)Officials including Defence Minister Douangchay Phichit are believed to have been travelling to an official ceremony

A military plane carrying Laos Defence Minister Douangchay Phichit and other senior officials has crashed in the north of the country.

It is thought the plane came down in the province of Xiangkhouang, nearly 500km (311 miles) from the capital Vientiane where its journey began.

About 20 people, including the the governor of Vientiane, are thought to have been on board.

There are no confirmed reports on casualties.

The officials are believed to have been travelling to an official ceremony in Xiangkhouang.

smoking wreckage at crash siteTV pictures showed smoking wreckage at the crash site

The official Laos news agency KPL confirmed the crash, which it said involved an Antonov AN- 74TK-300 plane operated by the Laos air force.

It said the cause of the accident was under investigation but gave no information about the passengers or any casualties.

In October last year a civilian jet operated by Lao Airlines crashed into the Mekong River in bad weather, killing all 49 people on board.

Laos, a landlocked country of about seven million people, has an authoritarian communist one-party government and is one of Asia’s poorest nations.

17 May 2014 | 8:23 am – Source: bbc.co.uk
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