1st LD: Yacht capsizes near Lao capital, casualties including former president feared: witnesses

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VIENTIANE, April 4 (Xinhua) -- A yacht capsized on Sunday morning in Nam Ngum Lake near Lao capital Vientiane, with casualties feared including former Lao president Choummaly Sayasone, witnesses told Xinhua.

The yacht, carrying around a dozen people on board, capsized at around 10:30 am local time (0330 GMT) on Sunday when there was a sudden storm in the capital area with strong wind, thunder and fairly heavy rain.

Nam Ngum Lake, some 60 km north of Vientiane, is a weekend destination for Vientiane citizens.

Witnesses told Xinhua via phone that the search and rescue operation has been carried out.

Sayasone's youngest daughter told her friends that she was the only one so far rescued from the yacht. Her father and mother's bodies have been found, while other family members are still missing, more than one source told Xinhua.

Sayasone, born on March 6, 1936, was the General Secretary of the Lao People's Revolutionary Party (LPRP) and President of Laos from 2006 to 2016.

He was born in Attapu of southern Laos and joined the LPRP central committee politburo in 1991 and served as the defense minister from 1991 to 2001. Enditem

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