Laos to observe minute of silence for plane crash victims

Laos to observe minute of silence for plane crash victims
A Lao woman, left, is comforted by a Thai woman yesterday at a Chinese temple in Pakse, the capital of Laos.

The Lao government on Sunday informed all senior officials to observe a nationwide minute of silence at 2:15pm on October 21 in tribute to those who died in Wednesday's plane crash.

The instruction was conveyed to all ministries, government bodies, provincial authorities and the Vientiane mayor.

In Champassak, where the plane crashed, provincial authorities will hold a ceremony at the Km 4 area in Pakxe district to mourn those who died.

The search and rescue committee has now retrieved 43 bodies of the 49 people on board the plane that crashed into the Mekong River in Phonthong district.

The bodies include those of the two pilots, two flight attendants and an engineer. The remains of foreign nationals are at Vat Chin temple while the nine bodies of Lao citizens are at Vat Phabath temple, both in Pakxe district.

Champassak provincial Deputy Governor, Dr Bounthong Divixay, told Vientiane Times on Sunday the nationwide observance will be accompanied by a report on Wednesday's crash, thought to be the worst in Lao aviation history.

High-ranking government officials will take part to pay tribute to those who died and express their condolences to the victims' relatives and friends.

Meanwhile the recovery operation continues so that the remains of all the deceased can be handed over to their families.

Lao authorities are working with Thai frogmen to search for the wreckage of the plane in hopes of determining the cause of the accident.

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