49 believed killed in Laos plane crash


A Lao Airlines ATR72-500 aircraft.

Dozens are believed dead after a Lao Airlines plane crashed as it approached Pakse airport near the Thai border on Wednesday afternoon, in an incident likely caused by poor weather. 

A total of 49 people — including 44 passengers and five crew members — were in the ATR 72 aircraft when it crashed into the Mekong River, according to CNN

Nationals from France, Australia, Thailand, Korea, the US, Canada, China, Malaysia, Vietnam, and Taiwan were among those who died in the crash, CNN reported. Authorities don't believe there were any survivors.

"The plane was about to land, but appeared to be hit by a strong wind, causing its head to ascend and pushing it away from the airport area and out of reach of the air traffic control radar," state-run Lao media agency KPL told Agence France-Presse. 

"The search teams in Laos are taking the bodies to a local hospital," Thai foreign ministry spokesman Sek Wannamethee told AFP.

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius reported that he felt, "deep shock and great sadness" regarding the deaths, according to Sky News, which added that the crash took place around 4 p.m. 

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