Skip to main content

'Wind shear' suspected in Laos crash that killed 49

By CNN Staff
updated 3:50 AM EDT, Thu October 17, 2013
The plane was a twin-engine turboprop ATR 72, similar to this Lao Airlines ATR-72 500, photographed in 2011.
The plane was a twin-engine turboprop ATR 72, similar to this Lao Airlines ATR-72 500, photographed in 2011.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: Five bodies recovered from Lao Airlines crash, 44 still missing
  • Flight was headed from Vientiane to Pakse, Laos, Thai official says
  • Remnants of Typhoon Nari have been hitting the area
  • The plane was preparing to land amid heavy gusts of wind and rain

Bangkok, Thailand (CNN) -- Lao Airlines is investigating that possibility that a plane crash that killed 49 people Wednesday was caused by "wind shear," an airline official said.

Wind shear -- a sudden change in wind speed or direction over a short distance -- has been a factor in many air disasters.

Chalerm Taiyalad, a Lao Airlines vice-president, said it was raining heavily at the time Flight QV301 was approaching for landing at Pakse Airport, near the Thai border, after departing from the capital Vientiane.

Gusts from the remnants of Typhoon Nari appeared to have caused the pilots to lose control of the ATR 72 aircraft, he said.

The ATR 72 propeller plane was preparing to land when a gust of wind appeared to push it away from the airport, and it crashed on or near an island in the Mekong River, reported KPL, the national news agency.

Forty-nine people -- 44 passengers and 5 crew -- were killed in the crash. They included 16 Laotian passengers and five crew, seven French, six Australians, five Thais, three Koreans, two Vietnamese, an American, a Canadian, a Chinese, a Malaysian and one Taiwanese, Taiyalad said.

He said five bodies had been recovered from the Mekong River, while the black box and the remains of the aircraft remained unaccounted for, along with the remaining 44 bodies. Families of the victims were arriving in Pakse, awaiting the recovery of their relatives.

Somphone Doungdara, CEO of Lao Airlines, said his company was working with authorities and investigators from the aircraft manufacturer to determine the cause of the crash. "Our thoughts and prayers are with the families affected by this terrible tragedy," he said.

Plane crash kills 14 at Nigeria airport

CNN's Kocha Olarn in Bangkok and Brandon Miller contributed to this report.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 8:06 PM EDT, Tue September 2, 2014
ISIS has published a video titled "A second message to America," showing the beheading of American journalist Steven Sotloff.
updated 9:35 PM EDT, Mon September 1, 2014
Three Americans detained in North Korea spoke out about their conditions and pleaded for U.S. help in interviews with CNN.
Hundreds of jihadis in Syria are from abroad -- which countries have the biggest problem?
updated 3:51 PM EDT, Mon September 1, 2014
CNN attends a funeral where mourners keep their distance.
updated 5:13 AM EDT, Mon September 1, 2014
Libyan militia members have apparently turned the abandoned U.S. Embassy in Tripoli, Libya, into a water park.
updated 7:26 AM EDT, Mon September 1, 2014
A few miles south of the town of Starobeshevo in eastern Ukraine, a group of men in uniform is slumped under a tree.
updated 9:25 PM EDT, Mon September 1, 2014
Beijing says only candidates approved by a nominating committee can run for Hong Kong's chief executive, prompting criticism.
updated 4:23 AM EDT, Fri August 29, 2014
He should be toddling around a playground. Instead, his tiny hands grip an AK-47.
updated 8:23 PM EDT, Tue August 26, 2014
Wilson Raj Perumal tells CNN how he rigged World Cup games: "I was giving orders to the coach."
updated 8:21 AM EDT, Tue September 2, 2014
In a major breach of privacy, a hacker leaked a series of pictures allegedly showing Jennifer Lawrence and other female celebrities in the nude.
Instead of weaving garments sold in the West, children should be in school
According to the International Labour Organization, there are 168 million child laborers around the world.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.
ADVERTISEMENT