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Three S. Koreans killed in plane crash in Laos

A Lao airplane crashed Wednesday in the Southeast Asian nation, reportedly killing all 49 passengers and crewmembers aboard, including three South Koreans.

The plane crashed into the Mekong River while attempting to land in bad weather at Pakse Airport in Champassak Province in southern Laos, officials said.

Lao authorities said there was no report of survivors.

State-owned Lao Airlines confirmed the accident, saying its plane was carrying 44 passengers and five crewmembers.

"There were no news of survivors at this time," it said.

South Korean embassy officials identified the three South Koreans as Lee Jae-sang, Lee Kang-pil and Lee Hong-jik, all in their 40s or 50s.

Lee Jae-sang, an employee of a construction firm, was working on a local dam project.

Lee Kang-pil, a businessman, was visiting there for possible farm development, and Lee Hong-jik was on tour, according to the officials.

The South Korean Embassy in Laos said it has dispatched a diplomat to the accident site.

Other victims reportedly include 17 Lao, seven French citizens, six Australians, five Thais, two Vietnamese and one person each from Canada, China, Malaysia, Taiwan and the United States.

The plane left Wattay airport in Vientiane at 2:45 p.m. Wednesday, and crashed at 4 p.m., according to the nation's transportation ministry.

The French-made ATR-72 jet is a twin-engine turboprop plane with 70 seats. (Yonhap News)

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