Laos: Military plane with defense chief crashes
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Laos: Military plane with defense chief crashes

Around 20 people including other senior officials on board aircraft that went down

Laotian Defense Minister Douangchay Phichit in a 2004 file photo (Photo credit: AP/file)
Laotian Defense Minister Douangchay Phichit in a 2004 file photo (Photo credit: AP/file)

BANGKOK — A Laos air force plane carrying about 20 people including the country’s defense minister and other senior officials crashed on Saturday, Thailand’s Foreign Ministry said.

There was no immediate word on casualties, said the Foreign Ministry spokesman, Sek Wannamethee.

The plane took off from the capital, Vientiane, early Saturday morning and crashed in the northeastern province of Xiangkhoung, about 290 miles away.

The aircraft was carrying Lao Defence Minister Douangchay Phichit, who is also a deputy prime minister, and several other high-ranking officials, including the governor of Vientiane. They were heading to an official ceremony for the Ministry of Defense, said Sek, who was informed of the crash by authorities in neighboring Laos.

He did not immediately have any other details, and there was no official statement on the crash from authorities in Laos, which is ruled by a secretive Communist Party.

In October, a Lao Airlines ATR-72 turboprop crashed during a heavy storm as it approached Pakse Airport in southern Laos, killing all 49 people on board.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press.

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