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49 believed dead in plane crash in Laos

BANGKOK — A Lao Airlines flight crashed Wednesday in the Southeast Asian nation, apparently killing all 49 people aboard, including passengers from 11 countries, the Lao government said.

The Ministry of Public Works and Transport, which operates the airline as a state enterprise, said 44 passengers and five crew members were aboard flight QV301 from the Lao capital, Vientiane, to Pakse in the country’s south.

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‘‘Upon preparing to land at Pakse Airport the aircraft ran into extreme bad weather conditions and reportedly crashed into the Mekong River,’’ the ministry said in a statement, adding that there was no word of survivors.

Thai Foreign Ministry spokesman Sek Wannamethee said his country’s embassy in Vientiane was informed that the plane crashed 4 to 5 miles from the airport at Pakse.

A passenger manifest listed 44 people: 17 Lao, seven French, five Australians, five Thais, three Koreans, two Vietnamese, and one person each from Canada, China, Malaysia, Taiwan, and the United States.

The Lao government said the airline ‘‘is taking all necessary steps to coordinate and dispatch all rescue units to the accident site in the hope of finding survivors.’’

The Lao transport ministry statement said the crash is being investigated and the airline hoped to announce its findings Thursday.

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