SUAB HMONG NEWS — July 30, 2015, LPDR (Lao) officials located the crashed of the Lao MI-17 helicopter-registration number RDPL-34062 carried 19 passengers and four crew members took off from Vientiane to Houaphan province in northern Laos on July 27, 2015.
The helicopter crashed in to a remote area of Xaysomboun province’s LongCheng district. There is no indication of survivors from the crashed. The LPDR officials found the bodies of the none survivors and carried them to an open road area.
“It’s in Longchaeng district, near Phalamua village. They sent the national defense force first, but had to deploy a military force to assist with the rescue operation.”
The official did not provide a number of casualties in the crash.
The official Vientiane Times quoted a military source as saying that the helicopter had been found in the jungle on a slope of Phu Bia Mountain in Longchaeng.
According to the source, local farmers told military officials that they heard an explosion not long after the helicopter flew past. The officials visited the site and reported that the aircraft had crashed, but did not provide information about the fate of the 23 people on board.
The source said extreme weather conditions were a potential cause of the accident, adding that heavy rains in the region was hampering search and rescue operations, including the ability of other helicopters to reach the crash site.
A senior official from the Ministry of Defense told RFA that at least one of the 19 passengers was a “high-ranking military patient.”
“The MI-17 helicopter which lost contact shortly after takeoff was carrying a high-ranking military patient who came to get treatment in Hospital 103 in Vientiane and was returning to Houaphan province,” said the official, who declined to provide his name.
Hospital 103 is a military hospital operated by the Ministry of Defense which was built to treat soldiers.
A doctor from Hospital 103 confirmed that the military patient had been aboard the helicopter and said three other passengers were staff members from the facility.
“Besides the high-ranking military patient, there were three health professionals from Hospital 103 accompanying him in the helicopter,” the doctor said.