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Bangkok (AFP) – A Lao Airlines plane carrying 44 people from the capital Vientiane to the southern town of Pakse crashed killing all on board on Wednesday, a Thai foreign ministry spokesman said.

Laos officials said the plane carrying 39 passengers and five crew went down around five miles from the airport in Champasak province in southern Laos, according to Thai foreign ministry spokesman Sek Wannamethee.

“I can now confirm, according to our reports, that all 44 people on board have died, including five Thai,” he told AFP.

Thailand’s English language Bangkok Post reported that the plane had ditched into the Mekong River in bad weather at it tried to land at Pakse airport.

Pictures on Thai television showed a plane, half submerged in the river, with what appeared to be bodies lying on the banks.

A spokesman from ATR in France confirmed the crash and told AFP that the state-owned Lao Airlines flight was one of its ATR-72 planes.

An official at the Vietnamese Embassy in Laos told AFP on condition of anonymity that all on board the plane had been killed.

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Jeff Danziger lives in New York City. He is represented by CWS Syndicate and the Washington Post Writers Group. He is the recipient of the Herblock Prize and the Thomas Nast (Landau) Prize. He served in the US Army in Vietnam and was awarded the Bronze Star and the Air Medal. He has published eleven books of cartoons and one novel. Visit him at DanzigerCartoons.