Pilot of crashed Lao plane Cambodian: official

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The captain of a passenger plane that crashed into the Mekong River in southern Laos on Wednesday, which resulted in the death of 49 people, was a veteran Cambodian pilot, a senior civil aviation official confirmed Thursday.

"Young San, 56, was in charge of the Lao Airlines plane that plunged into the Mekong River on Wednesday due to bad weather," Him Sarun, deputy chief of the security and safety department at the Cambodia's State Secretariat of Civil Aviation, told Xinhua over telephone.

"He was employed by the Lao Airline as a pilot," he said, adding that Young San had been trained in Russia and France.

The crashed plane appears to have been hit by strong winds as it was coming to land. It crashed on Wednesday afternoon near Pakse, Champasak province of Laos, which is on the borders of both Thailand and Cambodia. Authorities said 44 passengers and five crew members were on the flight from Lao capital Vientiane.

The 44 passengers included 17 Lao people, seven French, five Australians, five Thai people, three Koreans, two Vietnamese, and one each from the United States, Malaysia, Canada, China and China 's Taiwan.

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