Former President Choummaly was found alive during rescue efforts following a boat capsize Sunday morning in the Nam Ngum Reservoir, Vientiane Province.
Xinhua reports that the yacht, carrying 39 passengers including the former president of Laos, Choummaly Sayasone, and his family, capsized at 10:30 am on Sunday while sailing in the Nam Ngum Reservoir.
A sudden storm saw heavy rains and strong winds, believed to be the cause of the accident.
Military divers flew to the scene to assist with the search efforts.
According to a report by KPL, former president Choummaly was found alive and rushed to hospital.
Governor of Vientiane Province, Khamphanh Sitthidampha, said in a statement, “This unfortunate incident occurred because of sudden strong winds. [I can tell you that] former president Choummaly Sayasone was successfully rescued.”
“The vessel had 39 passengers aboard in total, and local and specialized emergency personnel were able to rescue 31 people who were all taken to hospital. Sadly, eight people lost their lives. Their bodies have been laid to rest at the assembly hall of the Ministry of Defense,” the governor said.
Choummaly Sayasone, born on 6 March 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 Attapeu Province in southern Laos and joined the LPRP central committee politburo in 1991, serving as defense minister from 1991 to 2001.