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Conviasa aircraft crashes in eastern Venezuela

  • 9-13-2010

_49090120_010178090-2.jpgA passenger plane with 47 people on board has crashed in eastern Venezuela.

The ATR 42 twin-turboprop, belonging to the state airline Conviasa, came down shortly after leaving Manuel Carlos Piar airport, outside Ciudad Guayana.

Bolivar State Governor Francisco Rangel Gomez said at least 23 survivors were being treated in hospital. Unconfirmed reports said 13 people had been killed.

The pilots of the aircraft, en route to the island of Margarita, reported technical problems before it crashed.

"We still don't know the exact cause," Mr Gomez told state television.

_49086911_venezuela_islamargarita_sep10.gifTransport Minister Francisco Garces said the short-haul airliner crashed at about 1000 local time (1430 GMT), some 10km (six miles) from Puerto Ordaz, a suburb of Ciudad Guayana where the airport is located.

The plane, which had 43 passengers and four crew on board, went down on wasteland owned by the state-run Sidor steel mill, he added.

Mr Gomez said the area was used to store barrels of material used in the steel industry, and that no Sidor workers had been hurt. The mill has since been evacuated.

The director of the local Uyapar hospital, Yanitza Rodriguez, told local media that at least two people had been killed.

But the head of the local fire brigade told the Reuters news agency that at least 13 people had so far been confirmed dead.

In the last major air crash in Venezuela in 2008, a plane crashed into the Andes mountains in the west of the country, killing all 46 people on board.

News Feed from BBC News

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