'Wind shear' suspected in Laos crash that killed 49
October 17, 2013 -- Updated 0750 GMT (1550 HKT)
The plane was a twin-engine turboprop ATR 72, similar to this Lao Airlines ATR-72 500, photographed in 2011.
- NEW: Five bodies recovered from Lao Airlines crash, 44 still missing
- Flight was headed from Vientiane to Pakse, Laos, Thai official says
- Remnants of Typhoon Nari have been hitting the area
- The plane was preparing to land amid heavy gusts of wind and rain
Bangkok, Thailand (CNN) -- Lao Airlines is investigating that possibility that a plane crash that killed 49 people Wednesday was caused by "wind shear," an airline official said.
Wind shear -- a sudden change in wind speed or direction over a short distance -- has been a factor in many air disasters.
Chalerm Taiyalad, a Lao Airlines vice-president, said it was raining heavily at the time Flight QV301 was approaching for landing at Pakse Airport, near the Thai border, after departing from the capital Vientiane.
Gusts from the remnants of Typhoon Nari appeared to have caused the pilots to lose control of the ATR 72 aircraft, he said.
The ATR 72 propeller plane was preparing to land when a gust of wind appeared to push it away from the airport, and it crashed on or near an island in the Mekong River, reported KPL, the national news agency.
Forty-nine people -- 44 passengers and 5 crew -- were killed in the crash. They included 16 Laotian passengers and five crew, seven French, six Australians, five Thais, three Koreans, two Vietnamese, an American, a Canadian, a Chinese, a Malaysian and one Taiwanese, Taiyalad said.
He said five bodies had been recovered from the Mekong River, while the black box and the remains of the aircraft remained unaccounted for, along with the remaining 44 bodies. Families of the victims were arriving in Pakse, awaiting the recovery of their relatives.
Somphone Doungdara, CEO of Lao Airlines, said his company was working with authorities and investigators from the aircraft manufacturer to determine the cause of the crash. "Our thoughts and prayers are with the families affected by this terrible tragedy," he said.
Plane crash kills 14 at Nigeria airport
CNN's Kocha Olarn in Bangkok and Brandon Miller contributed to this report.
Part of complete coverage on
September 19, 2014 -- Updated 1049 GMT (1849 HKT)
British PM David Cameron has had the narrowest of political escapes.
September 19, 2014 -- Updated 0106 GMT (0906 HKT)
British journalist John Cantlie hadn't been seen in nearly two years. Now, he's the latest hostage to be paraded out by ISIS.
The burial leader. The hospital gatekeeper. The disease detective. All telling powerful, stories from West Africa.
September 18, 2014 -- Updated 2303 GMT (0703 HKT)
Alibaba's IPO is unlike anything investors have ever seen and could threaten other online retailers. Maggie Lake reports.
September 20, 2014 -- Updated 0358 GMT (1158 HKT)
Indian PM Narendra Modi has said al Qaeda will fail if it seeks to spread its terror network into his country.
September 18, 2014 -- Updated 1201 GMT (2001 HKT)
Put yourself in the shoes (and sixth-century black robes) of ISIS' Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the mysterious boss of the terror group.
September 20, 2014 -- Updated 1444 GMT (2244 HKT)
Asia's first grand slam singles champion Li Na has called time on her 15-year tennis career.
Jenson Button has some of quickest reactions ever shown at an advanced sports lab.
September 19, 2014 -- Updated 1124 GMT (1924 HKT)
Creative companies with quirky ideas find new lending models advantageous.
September 18, 2014 -- Updated 1409 GMT (2209 HKT)
Even death couldn't part two skeletons excavated from a lost chapel in an English county, found with their fingers entwined.
September 19, 2014 -- Updated 1007 GMT (1807 HKT)
Each day, CNN brings you an image capturing a moment to remember, defining the present in our changing world.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.
Today's five most popular stories