Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

DEBATE

Iraq's Christians - Nowhere to Run? (part 2)

Read more

DEBATE

Iraq's Christians - Nowhere to Run?

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Towards a "Third Intifada"?

Read more

FOCUS

What solutions for California's overcrowded prisons?

Read more

MIDDLE EAST MATTERS

Gaza conflict: Palestinians mark sombre Eid

Read more

WEB NEWS

Celebrities in the Israel-Gaza crossfire

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Israeli strike takes out Gaza power station

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

French newspaper apologises for Sarkozy story

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

Last-ditch talks aim to avert Argentina default

Read more

  • Deadly strike hits Gaza market despite four-hour 'truce'

    Read more

  • Russia defiant as US, EU unveil 'phase three' sanctions

    Read more

  • Argentina fails to reach deal with holdout creditors

    Read more

  • US House votes to sue Obama for over-reaching his powers

    Read more

  • Suspect in Jewish Museum attack charged with 'terrorist' murder

    Read more

  • Women should not laugh in public, Turkey's deputy PM says

    Read more

  • Fourth female suicide bomber targets Nigerian city

    Read more

  • US rebounds to 4% growth in second quarter

    Read more

  • Video: Coping with rocket attacks in Israel’s Sderot

    Read more

  • Rats on the rampage at Louvre museum gardens

    Read more

  • France evacuates nationals, closes embassy in Libya

    Read more

  • 'Compelling' signs Kosovo leaders trafficked organs, prosecutor says

    Read more

  • Graphic: Ebola spreads across West Africa

    Read more

  • Video: How tourism is helping Rwanda’s gorillas, ex-poachers

    Read more

  • Islamists seize key Benghazi army base as fire rages on

    Read more

Americas

Survivors pulled from crashed plane

Video by FRANCE 24

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2010-09-14

At least 36 people have been found alive after a domestic flight carrying more than 50 people crashed in south-east Venezuela. Fifteen people have been confirmed dead.

AFP - Fifteen people died Monday in a plane crash in eastern Venezuela, but 36 others miraculously survived after the pilot alerted air traffic control that something was wrong moments before disaster struck.
   
The plane, carrying 47 passengers and four crew from the resort city of Isla Margarita, burst into flames as it hit the ground near a steel works owned by the Sidor group in Bolivar state.
   
"In total we have 36 survivors and 15 dead. The survivors are being looked after," said Transport and Communications Minister Francisco Garces.
   
"Given the condition of the plane, I think we were very lucky."
   
Most of the survivors had sustained burns and were traumatized by the event, but none were in life-threatening condition, Garces said.
   
The Conviasa Airlines ATR-42-300 plane went down about six miles (10 kilometers) from Puerto Ordaz, on the Orinoco River. It broke in two and caught fire as it hit the ground. The cause of the crash was not immediately clear.
   
Officials said the quick response by the emergency services after the pilot warned air traffic control that the flight was in trouble prevented a higher death toll.
   
Rescuers arrived at the scene quickly with medical helicopters to fly the wounded to local hospitals that had been placed on alert. A burns unit was also on stand-by to treat those caught in the blazing wreckage.
   
"There's been a miracle here," said Bolivar state Governor Francisco Rangel Gomez.
   
President Hugo Chavez issued a statement expressing his "deepest... condolences and solidarity" with the victims of the crash.
   
"All of us in Venezuela are in mourning, heavy with sadness for this tragedy," he said, and announced three days of official mourning throughout the country.
   
The plane went down at a site mostly used by Sidor to store scrap industrial material. None of its employees were injured in the crash, but they were among the first at the scene helping rescue passengers, Rangel Gomez said.
   
The governor said the pilot appeared to have "lost control" of the plane and radioed a control tower to warn that the flight was having technical difficulties.
   
A spokesperson for ATR, the aircraft manufacturer, said the firm was investigating the accident.
   
"We are working in close cooperation with the company (Conviasa) and authorities to understand the causes of the accident. At the moment we do not know what caused it," a spokesman in Paris told AFP.
   
ATR aircraft like the one that crashed Monday are made by a European consortium composed of EADS and Alenia.
   
The firm, based in Toulouse, France, employs some 850 people and is considered a global leader in the manufacture of small turbo-propelled planes with 50-75 seats, with some 52 percent of the market.
   
It has received over 1,000 orders from 150 companies in 80 countries since its creation, and made around 1.1 billion euros in 2009.
   
Conviasa is a state-owned airline started in 2004 that flies to destinations as varied as Tehran, Damascus, Buenos Aires and several Caribbean nations.
   
The last major air accident in Venezuela was in February 2008 and also involved an ATR-42-300, which crashed in the Andes, killing 46.
   
Three years earlier, 160 people were killed in a Venezuelan crash that was one of the world's deadliest ever.
   
The flight was en route to Martinique and the majority of those killed -- 152 of the passengers -- were from the small Caribbean island. An investigation into the disaster later concluded human error was to blame.
  
 

Date created : 2010-09-13

COMMENT(S)