A Thai army spokesman says a helicopter carrying a deputy regional army commander and eight other officers has crashed and at least five people were killed.

Spokesman Col. Winthai Suvaree says the cause of Monday's crash was not immediately known and the five dead have not been identified. The chopper crashed 10 minutes after taking off from an army unit in Phayao province.

Among the passengers was Maj. Gen. Songphol Thongjeen, the newly promoted deputy regional army commander overseeing affairs in Thailand's north.

Those aboard were finishing an inspection mission in Phayao and were heading to another northern province.

Phayao is about 590 kilometers (370 miles) north of Bangkok.