Death toll of Venezuela's plane accident rises to 15

10:15, September 14, 2010      

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Graphics shows the area where a plane carrying 51 people crashed on Sept. 13, 2010, killing at least 15 people, in Venezuela. (Xinhua/Zhang Liyun)

At least 15 people were killed and 36 others injured on Monday when a plane of the state-run Conviasa airline crashed in the southeastern Bolivar state, authorities said.

Transportation and Communication Minister Francisco Garces and Bolivar state Governor Francisco Rangel Gomez confirmed the accident in a joint statement.

The French-built ATR-42 aircraft plunged into the scrap yard of a steelmaking company at 10:30 a.m. (1500 GMT) shortly before it reached its destination, Manuel Carlos Airport, near Puerto Ordaz.

The Conviasa Flight 2350 took off from the Caribbean resort of Margarita Island.

"In total there are 36 survivors and 15 deaths. The survivors are receiving medical treatment," according to the latest information given by Garces.

Garces said thanks to the "intervention on time of the authorities, the rescuers pulled out a large number of people alive" from the smoking wreckage of the plane.

Regional Civil Protection director Jose Garcia said: "We were told by the control tower of Manuel Carlos Airport about a plane with technical problems, so we were ready to answer the emergency."

Yanitza Rodriguez, director of the Hospital of Uyapar, said the injured suffered different degrees of burns, and most of the passengers were Venezuelans living in Bolivar state.

Meanwhile, the Bolivar state authorities activated two emergency phone lines to update relatives of the victims on the incident.

Governor Rangel Gomez said the injured were taken to Uyapar and Guaiparo Rudy Paez hospitals and the military hospital in Bolivar.

A C-130 military plane took off from Caracas to deliver surgery materials to the local hospitals, Rangel Gomez added. The neighboring states of Anzoategui, Monagas and Delta Macuro also sent medical staff to Puerto Ordaz.

The governor said the cause of the accident was still unknown. However, the pilot had reported to the control tower problems in operating the plane, alerting the authorities for a possible accident.

The Conviasa airline began operations in 2004. An ATR-42 plane of local airline Santa Barbara crashed in Venezuela's Andean region in February 2008, killing all 46 people onboard.$

Source: Xinhua
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