Two Argentine pilots survive plane crash in Costa Rica capital

San José (AFP) –


Two Argentine pilots survived when their light aircraft crash landed Friday in a heavily populated area of the capital of Costa Rica, officials said.

The pilots climbed out of the wreckage of the plane after it came down in the Pavas neighborhood of San Jose, in an area full of homes and schools, witnesses and officials said.

"The pilots are well, they managed to get out of the plane on their own," said the head of Costa Rica's civil aviation authority, Guillermo Hoppe, speaking at the scene.

"It was a complicated situation, the plane lost all power," said Damian Barreira, one of the two pilots, in a video clip shot on a local resident's cell phone and broadcast on news channels.

Hoppe said Argentine authorities had informed him that the men had bought the plane in the United States and were flying it back to their home country in short-distance flights, a journey that had been expected to take a month.

Shortly after taking off from an airfield in San Jose, the plane lost power and the pilots looked for an open space in the residential district to make an emergency landing. As it came down, the plane hit a large tree which cushioned the impact of the crash.