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 8:25 AM EDT, Thu October 16, 2014
Action needs to be taken immediately before affected states potentially collapse, says campaigner Bob Geldof.
updated 12:29 AM EDT, Thu October 16, 2014
Thomas Malthus famously predicted that rising populations would create a food crunch: Could this be true?
updated 6:33 AM EDT, Sat October 18, 2014
From "Sick Man of Europe" to the world's fourth largest economy.
updated 8:18 AM EDT, Mon October 20, 2014
Each day, CNN brings you an image capturing a moment to remember, defining the present in our changing world.
updated 7:18 PM EDT, Wed October 15, 2014
Australian PM Tony Abbott vows to "shirt-front" Russia's Putin over the MH17 disaster.
updated 7:27 PM EDT, Wed October 15, 2014
Serbia and Albania try to play but the major game is called off after a drone flying a political flag enters the stadium.
updated 7:36 AM EDT, Tue October 14, 2014
George Clooney's new wife, is now Amal Clooney, raising the issue of married names.
updated 1:57 PM EDT, Tue October 14, 2014
The mysterious unmanned X-37B space plane returns to Earth after more than two years in space. But the U.S. Air force isn't saying much.
updated 12:55 PM EDT, Tue October 14, 2014
Public health experts are asking whether the CDC is getting the wrong message out.
updated 11:41 AM EDT, Mon October 13, 2014
It's no longer necessary to launch your startup in Silicon Valley -- thanks to the internet, you can do it anywhere.
updated 5:00 AM EDT, Wed October 8, 2014
From a "democracy wall" to a towering "Umbrella man" statue, see the best art from the massive protests in Hong Kong.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.
ADVERTISEMENT