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Lao leaders pay respect to plane crash victims

Publication Date : 19-05-2014


Lao President Choummaly Sayasone, Prime Minister Thongsing Thammavong and other high-ranking officials laid wreaths yesterday to pay their respects to the leaders who passed away from the plane crash on Saturday, May 17 in Xieng Khuang Province.

The wreath-laying ceremony took place at several locations where the bodies of the leaders were being kept prior to cremation on Monday. As of yesterday afternoon, 37 delegations from the Party and government sectors joined the ceremony.

According to the Ministry of National Defence, the Lao airforce AN-74TK-300 aircraft carrying 17 people on a special flight from Vientiane crashed near Xieng Khuang airport on Saturday morning (around 7am local time). Three survived while 14 died.

Prominent leaders were aboard the plane and were on their way to commemorate the 55th anniversary of the strategic gains made by Battalion II during the Indochina War after it broke through the enemy siege areas on the Plain of Jars in Xieng Khuang province on May 18, 1959.

Among those killed in the crash were the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of National Defence, Lieutenant General Douangchay Phichit; Minister of Public Security, Thongbanh Sengaphone, head of the Propaganda and Training Board of the Lao People's Revolutionary Party Central Committee, Cheuang Sombounkhanh and Vientiane Mayor, Soukanh Mahalath.

The Party Politburos have appointed a committee in charge of organising the funeral and cremation for the leaders who died in the air accident.

The three survivors were transported to a hospital in Vientiane but no reports have been made on their conditions so far.

The plane crashed during landing and was around 2km away from Xieng Khuang airport in Nadee village, Paek district, Xieng Khuang province. The cause of the accident is under investigation.

Photos taken from the crash site showed that the aircraft crashed in a forest area and was severely damage, leaving a large amount of debris on the site.


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