Laos' government indicates there is no evidence of survivors from the Lao Airlines ATR 72 crash in the south of the country.

It confirms that the accident involved flight QV301 which, it says, was transporting 44 passengers and five crew.

"Upon preparing to land at Pakse airport the aircraft ran into extreme bad weather conditions," says the statement from the transport ministry. "There [is] no news of survivors at this time."

Lao Airlines is "taking all necessary steps to co-ordinate and dispatch all rescue units to the accident site in the hope of finding survivors", it adds.

The aircraft departed at 14:45 local time from the capital, Vientiane, and had been expected at Pakse at 15:55.

"We are doing our best to investigate the cause of the crash," the ministry says.

ATR is still gathering details of the airframe involved in the accident.