Lao Airlines Says 49 Dead After Plane Crashes Into Mekong River

Lao Airlines, the Southeast Asian country’s national carrier, said 49 people were feared dead after a plane on a domestic flight from the capital Vientiane crashed into the Mekong River while attempting to land.

The plane experienced “bad weather conditions” while preparing to land at Pakse Airport in the south of the country at about 4 p.m. local time, according to the carrier. The model was an ATR 72-600 turboprop made by the Avions de Transport Regional venture owned by Airbus SAS parent European Aeronautic, Space and Defense Co. and Italy’s Finmeccanica SpA (FNC), ATR said in a statement.

Lao Airlines said in a statement it was sending emergency crews to the crash site, and expected to release initial findings of its investigation into the cause of the crash today. Lao Airlines flies to six international and six domestic destinations. Thailand’s Channel 3 television network broadcast footage of people pulling wreckage of the aircraft from the Mekong River.

There has been “no news of survivors,” the airline said in the statement, adding that the plane was carrying 44 passengers and five crew. Flight QV301 left the capital, Vientiane, at 2:45 p.m. local time and was scheduled to arrive in Pakse at 3:55 p.m.

A list provided by Thailand’s foreign ministry showed seven passengers from France, five Australians, five Thais, three Koreans, two Vietnamese, one American, one Chinese, one Taiwanese, one Canadian, and one Myanmar citizen were on board the flight, in addition to 17 Lao citizens.

Laos Airlines, established in 1976, operates Airbus SAS A320-214, Xi’an Aircraft Industry MA-6 and ATR-72-500 aircraft. The airline flies an ATR-72 twin-engine turboprop plane on the 467-kilometer (290-mile) route, according to the company’s website.

To contact the reporter on this story: Tony Jordan in Bangkok at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Benedikt Kammel at

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