2014 Lao People's Liberation Army Air Force An-74 crash
An Antonov 74TK-300 similar to the accident aircraft
|Date||17 May 2014|
|Site||Baan Nadi, Xiangkhouang Province|
|Aircraft type||Antonov 74TK-300|
|Operator||Lao People's Liberation Army Air Force|
|Flight origin||Wattay International Airport, Vientiane|
|Destination||Xieng Khouang Airport, Phonsavan|
On 17 May 2014, an Antonov An-74 airplane of the Lao People's Liberation Army Air Force crashed in northern Laos while en route to Xiangkhouang Province. The crash occurred around 6:30 am (IC T); 16 people died, including several Laotian statesmen.
The Ukrainian-built Lao People's Liberation Army Air Force Antonov An-74TK-300, registered as RDPL-34020, was carrying top officials in transit to attend a ceremony celebrating the 55th anniversary of the second division of the Lao People's Army. Included in the casualties were Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of National Defense Douangchay Phichit and Secretariat of the Party Central Committee, Cheuang Sombounkhanh. In addition to the defense minister, the Minister of Public Security, the mayor of Vientiane, the deputy Minister of Cultural Affairs, and other officials were on the plane.
Between 6:15 and 07:00, local time on 17 May 2014, 1,500 metres (4,900 ft) or 2,000 metres (6,600 ft) from the destination in Xiang Khouang, the Xieng Khouang Airport, the aircraft crashed in Nadee, Xiang Khouang, 500 kilometres (310 mi) from where it left in Vientiane at the Vientiane-Wattay Airport. The aircraft was too low on final approach, and its landing gear clipped some trees just short of the runway, resulting in the crash, which was attributed to a technical error.
Initial reports suggested that there were fourteen passengers, but later reports gave the figure as twenty on board at the time of the accident, only three were reported to have survived, according to official sources. Once the situation became clearer, the passenger count was given as seventeen and the death toll was given as sixteen, with one survivor after the other two original survivors died from their wounds.
- Douangchay Phichit, Politburo member of Lao People's Revolutionary Party, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of National Defense
- Thongbanh Sengaphone, Secretary of Lao People's Revolutionary Party and minister of Public Security
- Cheuang Sombounkhanh, Secretary of Lao People's Revolutionary Party and Head of the Propaganda and Training Commission
- Soukanh Mahalath, Secretary of Lao People's Revolutionary Party, Party secretary and Governor of Vientane
Although the names of the survivors have not yet been released, a Thai news source said that the co-pilot, a nurse, and another person had survived. The defence ministry permanent secretary in Thailand said that the Defence Minister of Laos and four others had been killed, and a witness also said that the Defence Minister had died, and gave the figure of fourteen deaths.
The death of "arguably the two most powerful people in the security apparatus" was reported to be a significant blow to the ruling Lao People's Revolutionary Party. After the crash, the ceremony was cancelled, and a three-day period of national mourning was announced.
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