Lao Airlines Flight 301

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The news that a Lao Airlines plane crashed a mere six kilomtres (three miles) from its destination has barely been a blip on the international news networks. Yet 49 people from 11 countries perished in the crash. 16 Laotians, seven French, six Australians, five Thais, three South Koreans, three Vietnamese, and one national each from the China, Malaysia, Taiwan and USA. Five were crew and 44 were passengers.

The crash highlights the danger of traveling in some parts of the world. Roads in Laos are in a very poor condition and rail service non existent. Tourists, business people, aid workers and locals all rely on air services, as they do in many other developing counties.

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Flight 301 is normally a routine connection between the country’s capital Vientiane and Pakse, the country’s third largest city, 685km (400miles) apart. The flight is scheduled to take one hour and twenty minutes. The ATR 72-600 aircraft had been delivered in March 2013.and had completed just 758 hours of flight.
Pakse airport, itself, is four years old. The pilot was considered to be experienced. The likely cause factor according to media outlets is the foul weather in the area, a byproduct of Typhoon Nari. This typhoon moved through the Philippines last weekend,then Vietnam and into Laos mid week. Initial reported suggestions are that the crash was a result of wind shear. This will not be known until the black box is located and investigation completed.
The plane itself has not yet been found. It undoubtedly sank to the bottom of the Mekong River. Marks on the ground suggest that the aircraft probably landed heavily on the ground before entering the river. The bodies of some victims have been found in the river, many kilometres from the impact point.

Thoughts to those impacted by the crash in any way.

Lao Airlines was founded in 1976 and flies 14 aiircraft to 20 destinations in Cambodia, China, Laos, Thailand, Vietnam and Singapore. Skytrax have not give the carrier a star rating but passengers rate it highly on that site.

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