VIENTIANE: At least 22 people including the defence minister were killed when a Laos air force plane crashed Saturday, officials said.
The victims included three members of the ruling Communist Party’s central committee. Three people reportedly survived the crash.
The plane crashed at about 8am in the north-eastern province of Xiangkhuang, killing Defence Minister Duangchay Phichit, who was also a deputy prime minister and member of the party’s politburo, a source close to him said.
Also killed were Public Security Minister Thongban Saengaphon, Vientiane Mayor Soukan Mahalat and party propaganda chief Chuang Sombounkhan, sources confirmed.
The group was en route to a ceremony marking the 55th anniversary of the 2nd Battalion’s victory over royalist forces.
Laos has been under communist rule since 1975. – The Nation/ANN