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Lao military plane with defense chief crashes

BANGKOK -- A Laos air force plane believed to be carrying 20 people including the country's defense minister crashed on Saturday, Thailand's Foreign Ministry said.

There was no immediate word on casualties, said the Foreign Ministry spokesman, Sek Wannamethee.

He said that the plane took off from the capital, Vientiane, and crashed in the northeastern province of Xiangkhoung, about 470 kilometers (292 miles) away.

He said he was informed of the crash by authorities in neighboring Laos.

He did not immediately have any other details.

In October, a Lao Airlines ATR-72 turboprop crashed during a heavy storm as it approached Pakse Airport in southern Laos, killing all 49 people on board.

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