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Sydney family of 4 among passengers in Laos crash

October 17, 2013

SYDNEY (AP) — A Sydney family of four and an Australian aid worker and his father were among those believed killed in a plane crash in Laos.

Relatives on Thursday released a photograph of 39-year-old tax consultant Gavin Rhodes, his 35-year-old wife Phoumalaysy Rhodes and their children Jadesuda, aged 3, and 17-month-old Manfred. They were among 49 people on a Lao Airlines plane crashed on Wednesday en route from the Lao capital Vientiane to Pakse in the south.

Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade said in a statement that six Australians were on board and no survivors were expected. A passenger manifest from the airline listed five Australians and identified Jadesuda Rhodes as Lao. The Rhodes family did not immediately confirm her nationality or say whether she held dual citizenship. DFAT declined to explain the discrepancy.

The other two Australians on board were Vientiane-based Michael Creighton, 42, and his 71-year-old father Gordon Bruce Creighton, from the New South Wales state town of Glen Innes, the Creighton family said in a statement.

Michael Creighton had been an operations manager at Norwegian People’s Aid’s mine action program, and lived in Laos with his fiancee, Melanie, who was not on the plane.

Michael Creighton had been in the Australian Defence Force and later worked for the United Nations. He spent the past 20 years doing humanitarian work, from Afghanistan to Iraq to Switzerland to Cambodia.

Gordon Creighton, a retired teacher, was visiting his son in Laos.

“We have lost a father, a husband, a son, a brother, a fiance and a best mate in one tragic circumstance and are trying to come to terms with our loss,” the family said in a statement.

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