Accident: Dozens Die As Plane Crashes Into Mekong River

An aircraft has crashed into the Mekong river in Laos, killing all 44 people on board.

The Lao Airlines plane was on an internal flight from the capital Vientiane when it crashed in the late afternoon.

The plane, carrying 39 passengers and five crew, went down around five miles (8km) from the airport in Champassak province, according to Thai foreign ministry spokesman Sek Wannamethee.

The dead included at least seven French nationals, five Thais and three South Koreans.

In a statement, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said he had learned of the deaths with “deep shock and great sadness”.

France was sending embassy officials to the site of the crash.

Pictures on Thai television showed a plane, partly submerged in the river, with what appeared to be bodies lying on the banks.

The Bangkok Post reported that the ART twin-turbo plane, flight number QV301, crashed into the river in bad weather.

The plane left Wattay airport in Vientiane at 2.45pm local time and crashed in Pakse at 4pm, the report said.

Airline and government officials in Laos were not immediately available for comment.

State-owned Lao Airlines has been in existence since 1976.

It previously operated as Lao Aviation, becoming Lao Airlines in March this year.

Its aircraft carried 658,000 passengers last year and it has a fleet of just 14 planes, mostly propeller-driven.

It operates on seven domestic routes and has international flights to China, Cambodia, Thailand, Vietnam and Singapore. 

May their Souls Rest In Peace.

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