Tragedy hit Laos airlines and numerous families today as a flight from Vientiane to the southern town of Pakse crashed, killing all the passengers and employees aboard the airplane. There were 44 confirmed deaths, according to the Thai foreign ministry. According to various reports from many foreign ministries and representatives, among those killed were five Thai people, three South Korean officials, and seven French citizens. Pakse is a very popular tourist destination, especially for international visitors.
The flight took off from Vientiane around 2:45 PM, and was only supposed to last about one hour. According to the Bangkok Post, an English paper published in Thailand, the plane was found crashed into the Mekong River, where it allegedly wound up because of an attempt to land in the Pakse Airport during a spout of bad weather. The crash allegedly occurred around 4:00 PM. Thai television sources showed pictures of the small plane, submerged in the river water, with what appeared to be dead bodies littering the banks.
Many foreign ministries are responding quickly to the tragedy. French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius was quoted as saying, "My first thoughts are with the families and friends of the victims," going on to say that special operatives had been dispatched to comfort the grieving families. Other embassy officials are being sent to the site of the plane crash, as well.
The state-run news agency KPL was quoted as saying on the topic of the crash, "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." Other reports have described the weather as "extreme," and site it as the main cause for the terrible and destructive crash.
This writer's thoughts and sentiments go to the families who must now suffer and grieve over the loss of their loved ones.[Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.]