|Foreigners among Laos air crash dead
Rescuers searched for bodies after a Lao Airlines plane carrying dozens, about half of them foreigners, crashed in the Mekong River.
Seven French citizens, six Australians and five Thais were among those thought to have been killed when the turboprop ATR-72 came down Wednesday near Pakse airport in Champasak province.
“The search and rescue is still going on in Pakse,'' Thai foreign ministry spokesman Sek Wannamethee told AFP. “The search teams in Laos are taking the bodies to a local hospital.''
Citizens from some 10 countries were reported to have been on the flight from the capital Vientiane.
The state-run Laos news agency KPL said all 47 passengers were believed to have perished.
State-owned Lao Airlines said the aircraft hit “extreme'' bad weather and had crashed into the Mekong with “no news of survivors at this time.’’
It gave a slightly different figure of 44 passengers and five crew and did not confirm the number of deaths.
According to a passenger list published by Thai media, more than half of the people onboard were foreign nationals.
They also included people from the United States, Vietnam, Canada and Malaysia, according to the document, which media said they obtained from the airline.
Australia said six of its nationals were feared dead, including a family of four.
Thailand said five of its nationals had died.
Three South Koreans were also among the victims, according to the Transport Ministry in Seoul.
Taiwan said one of its citizens was killed while Xinhua news agency said one Chinese was on board. It said an earlier figure of two had included the Taiwanese victim.
The airline expressed its “condolences'' to relatives of the passengers.
The QV301 flight set off from Vientiane on time at 2.45pm local time and was supposed to arrive in Pakse just over an hour later.
French-Italian aircraft manufacturer ATR said the twin-engine turboprop aircraft was new and had been delivered in March.