Passengers killed in Venezuela plane crash

Passengers killed in Venezuela plane crash

As many as 15 people have been killed following a plane crash on the outskirts of the Venezuelan city of Ciudad Guayana. 

An ATR-42 turboprop aircraft - operated by state run airline Conviasa - crashed on arrival at Manuel Carlos Piar airport, with 47 passengers and four crew on board.

Rescue efforts are ongoing, with 36 survivors accounted for.

Venezuela transport minister Francisco Garces confirmed the short-haul airliner crashed at about 10:00 local time (14:30 GMT), just six miles from the suburb of Puerto Ordaz.

In an interview with state media Bolivar state governor Francisco Rangel Gomez added: “We still don’t know the exact cause.”

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Margarita Island

The aircraft had departed from Margarita Island, with the pilot reporting problems controlling the turboprop before the crash.

Representatives from the French airplane manufacturer Avions de Transport Regional (ATR) - which makes 40-70 seat twin-engined turboprops in a joint venture with EADS and Italian aerospace group Finmeccanica – are heading to the scene.

Following the incident president Hugo Chavez offered his “deepest condolences and solidarity” with the victims of the crash.

Announcing three days of national mourning he added: “All of us in Venezuela are in mourning, heavy with sadness for this tragedy.”

The last major aviation disaster in Venezuela was in February 2008.

In that incident an aircraft belonging to Santa Barbara Airlines crashed in the Andes Mountains near the city of Merida, killing all 46 people on board.