VIENTIANE, May 17 (Xinhua) -- Lao defense minister and 15 others died while one person survived in an air crash in Laos' northeastern province of Xieng Khouang Saturday morning, official sources told Xinhua.
High-ranking officials confirmed dead in the mishap include Deputy Prime Minister cum Minister of Defense Douangchay Phichit, Minister of Public Security Thongbanh Sengaphone, Secretariat of the Lao People's Revolutionary Party's Central Committee and Head of the Propaganda Training Committee Cheuang Sombounkhanh, and Mayor of Vientiane Soukanh Mahalath.
The sole survivor is confirmed to be a nurse. She was pulled from the wreckage along with two others who later succumbed to injuries.
The mourning of the victims began in the Lao capital Saturday evening.
The aircraft, an AN74TK-300D, carrying Lao representatives to attend an event to commemorate the creation of the Lao army's 2nd Division, crashed on in Nadee village, Paek district of Xieng Khouang province.
A witness told Xinhua that the site of the crash is in a mountainous area and the weather was clear at the time of the accident.