BANGKOK May 17 A Laos air force plane with 14
people on board, including the defence minister, has crashed in
the north of the Southeast Asian country, a Laos defence
ministry source said on Saturday.
The official, who declined to be named because he was not
authorised to speak to the media, was unable to confirm reports
in neighbouring Thailand that the minister had died but that up
to three passengers had survived.
"A Laos air force plane has crashed on its way to Xiang
Khouang province in the north of the country. The mayor of
Vientiane, the defence minister of Laos and his wife were on
board," the official told Reuters by telephone.
Vientiane is the capital of Laos.
Thailand's Foreign Ministry said it had been informed by
Laos' government that the plane was an AN74-300 craft and that
it had crashed at 6:15 a.m (2315 GMT on Friday).
(Reporting by Amy Sawitta Lefevre and Viparat Jantraprap;
Writing by Alan Raybould; Editing by Paul Tait)