- Associated Press - Wednesday, July 29, 2015

BANGKOK (AP) - A Laotian army helicopter had an accident shortly after it left the capital and 23 people on board were missing, the Lao News Agency said on Wednesday.

Four crew members and 19 passengers were on the helicopter that lost communication with the aviation control center soon after it took off from Vientiane on Monday afternoon, state-owned news agency KPL reported. The report described the copter as having an accident but did not elaborate.

It said the Ministry of National Defense announced Tuesday evening that the airborne access to the scene of the accident was impossible due to bad weather and only ground search efforts were conducted.

The news agency said the helicopter was en route to Xiengkhuang and Houaphanh provinces in the northeast and the east of the country.

A military plane crash a year ago killed at least five people, including the country’s then-defense minister. In 2013, a Lao Airlines ATR-72 turboprop crashed during a heavy storm as it approached Pakse Airport in southern Laos, killing all 49 people on board.

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