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Plane carrying Laotian government officials crashes near Vietnam

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Bangkok, Thailand (CNN) — A plane carrying senior government officials from Laos crashed Saturday in a province bordering Vietnam, authorities said.

The country’s National Assembly President, Pany Yathotou, was on board the Laos air force plane, which was carrying 18 people, according to Lt. Gen. Nipat Thonglek, a Thai defense spokesman.

Yathotou is the first woman to hold that high office. Other high ranking officials were on board, including the Laotian defense minister, who was traveling with his wife, the spokesman said.

A regional governor was also on board the plane, which crashed in Xiangkhouang province north of Laos.

The group was traveling to take part in the memorial celebration of a historic battle.

A Thai television station showed photos of a jungle site in flames and victims in military uniforms.

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