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Latest update : 2009-03-20

A military plane crashed into buildings in the Ecuadoran capital of Quito, setting a building ablaze and killing three crewmembers on board as well as three civilians on the ground, according to authorities.

AFP - An Ecuadoran military plane on a training exercise crashed into an apartment building in northern Quito Thursday, killing its three crewmembers as well as three civilians on the ground, authorities said.
The crash of the Beechcraft propeller plane killed a major, a captain and a sergeant, as well as a woman who lived in the building and two other people "whose bodies were recovered inside" the residential complex, city counselor Gonzalo Ortiz said.
Two people were injured in the crash, which set the five-story building ablaze and prompted a major search and rescue operation by firefighters, who took more than an hour to extinguish the inferno.
Defense Minister Javier Ponce confirmed the three military dead as well as the woman, while civil authorities confirmed the other two deaths.
The plane crashed at about 5:20 pm (2220 GMT) near a luxury hotel in Quito as it approached the capital city's airport, Red Cross spokesman Johnny Franco told AFP.
Ponce described the accident as "regrettable."
"The plane had been in very good condition and was making a training flight," he said.
A thick cloud of dark smoke from the fire rose over the city, parts of which had been enshrouded in fog at the time of the crash.
The area has been the scene of at least four plane mishaps in recent years, including in 1992 when a military plane slammed into a building, killing the then-commander of the army Carlomagno Andrade.
That same year, a similar accident killed Ecuador's tourism minister, Pedro Zambrano.

Date created : 2009-03-20