A Lao Airlines plane crashed as it prepared to land during poor weather in southern Laos on Wednesday afternoon, killing what witnesses said were dozens of passengers, according to the country’s national news agency, KPL.
Witnesses said at least 47 people were killed in the crash near the Champasak provincial capital of Pakse, KPL reported, though Laotian authorities have yet to release an official death toll.
The ATR propeller-driven plane was preparing to land when a wind gust appeared to push it away from the airport, KPL reported. The plane crashed on or near an island in the Mekong River, according to KPL.
Remnants of Typhoon Nari have been hitting the area. Pakse has received more than 3.9 inches of rain since Tuesday.
The plane was headed from the Laotian capital, Vientiane, to Pakse, an official with the Thai Foreign Ministry said. The official, who did not want to be identified, said Thai nationals were among those on board.
At least seven French nationals were among the dead, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said in a statement Wednesday.
“Our first thoughts go to the victims’ families and loved ones, to whom I address all my condolences,” Fabius said.
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