Laotian Defence Minister aboard plane crash with five dead
A MILITARY plane has crashed in Laos as it approached an airport in the country's northeast killing at least five people including the nation's Defence Minister Douangchay Phichitand.
Other high-ranking members of the ruling Communist Party killed in the crash included Public Security Minister Thongbane Sengaphone and Vientiane Governor Sukhan Mahalad.
Sky News Australia reported Lao National Television showing video of the mangled wreckage of the air force plane.
The footage shows rescuers pulling away pieces of aircraft debris and trying to dig into the remaining fuselage with shovels, as medical crews stand by watching.
Thai Foreign Ministry spokesman Sek Wannamethee said the plane left the Laos capital Vientiane early on Saturday morning.
He said the group was heading to an official ceremony in Xiangkhoung province.