London: Laos Deputy Prime Minister Douangchay Phichit, who was also the defence minister, has been confirmed killed along with 17 other senior officials Saturday when an aircraft carrying them crashed, an official said.
The Thai foreign ministry said the minister and his wife died in the crash, BBC reported.
The air crash happened around 6.30 a.m. about 1.5 km from Xieng Khouang province`s airport.
Apart from Phichit, the AN-74TK300 aircraft was also carrying the minister of public security, the secretary of the Lao People`s Revolutionary Party`s Central Committee, the chairman of the Propaganda Training Committee, and the mayor of Vientiane, Xinhua reported.
The Laos defence ministry said the government officials were on their way to attend an event to commemorate the creation of the Lao Army`s 2nd Division.