14 dead, 4 missing in Venezuelan plane crash

CARACAS: At least 14 people were killed and four others remained missing after an aircraft carrying 47 passengers and four crashed Monday in southern Venezuela, authorities said.

Thirty-three people were rescued from the wreckage alive.

Bolivar Governor Francisco Rangel said emergency teams acted quickly to rescue the injured, who were taken to two hospitals. All had been travelling in the plane and no one was injured on the ground as a result of the accident, he said.

Some of the dead were yet to be identified, while four people were believed to be caught in the wreckage, amid “smoking debris”. Rangel said one eyewitness who tried to access the aircraft needed treatment for smoke inhalation.

The aircraft, operated by the state airline Conviasa, had taken off from tourist favourite Margarita Island and was headed to the city of Puerto Ordaz, in the state of Bolivar.

Earlier, Venezuelan Infrastructure Minister Francisco Garces had mistakenly said the aircraft had been travelling from Puerto Ordaz to Margarita.

“If you see the state the plane ended up in, it is surprising that 33 compatriots survived,” Garces said later.

Rangel said the pilot reported trouble minutes before the crash, and noted that his skill saved lives by taking the plane to a deserted area. The pilot is among the dead, according to media reports which were not immediately confirmed by the authorities.

The ATR-42 model aircraft crashed shortly before landing into the scrapyard of a nearby plant operated by the steel company Sidor.

“It helped that it crashed in the Sidor plant, because there are several ambulances there,” Rangel said.

Civil defence, police and fire department personnel were working at the site of the accident, around 10 kilometres away from Puerto Ordaz airport – Timesofindia