Plane Crash In Laos Kills High Ranking Government Officials

Thailand's defense ministry confirmed the Laotion defense minister was among the dead.
Posted at 11:19 AM, May 17, 2014

A military plane carrying senior government and military officials from Laos crashed Saturday — killing at least five people.

The plane was reportedly carrying 18 people, including the country’s defense minister and his wife, both of whom Thai authorities say died in the crash. Rescuers are still combing through the thick jungle where the plane went down. (Via Arirang)  

According to theBangkok Post, it's believed three people survived, including a crew member.

CNN reports the Russian-made plane crashed near the border with Vietnam — about 300 miles from the Laotian capital of Vientiane where the plane took off.

It wasn’t immediately clear what caused the crash, and state media offered few details as of Saturday morning. But we do know the officials on the plane were traveling to take part in a military commemoration of a historic battle.

Laos is one of the world's last remaining communist states. The tiny country of about 7 million is one of Asia’s poorest nations, and it has a pretty spotty aviation safety record. (Via United Nations

According to Aviation Safety Network, a website that tracks aviation incidents, Laos has suffered 30 fatal accidents since the 1950s.

In October, a plane crashed near Laos’ Mekong River trying to land in stormy weather — killing all 49 passengers on board. (Via Euronews)

Laotian media reported Saturday an investigation into this latest crash is underway.