GNS: Venezuela: Crash
GNS: Venezuela: Crash
Story No.: 207566A
Date: 28/01/2001 05:00 AM
Ciudad Bolivar, Venezuela - January 25 2001
1. Zoom out off flames and tail of plane
2. Pan across various people looking at fire to fire from plane
3. Tail of plane on fire
4. Pull out from charred part of plane to mid shot of fire fighters battling blaze
5. Pan across various pieces of plane debris
6. Rescue workers pulling body from wreckage
7. Fire fighters battling blaze
8. Rescue workers carrying gurney
9. Various talking
10. Fire fighters carrying gurney
11. Various examining plane debris
12. Aerial of plane wreckage
13. Mid shot of crashed plane in wooded area
An airplane carrying American and European tourists has crashed into a shantytown in southern Venezuela, killing all 24 people on board and injuring three people on the ground.
The Rutaca airlines flight crashed shortly after taking off after refueling in the city of Ciudad Bolivar.
Witnesses said one of its wings broke off on impact and smashed into three houses in the shantytown of Abobo, where a fire broke out.
There were no survivors, Victor Arauja, a pilot for Rutaca, told The Associated Press.
The cause of the crash of the DC-3 aircraft wasn't immediately known.
The passengers included six Americans, five Dutch, four Italians, two Hungarians, two Venezuelans and one Austrian, according to a list released by the government's Air Rescue Service.
All four Venezuelan crew members also died.
Witnesses said they saw the plane come down with one of its two engines on fire on Thursday evening, smash into a large tree and burst into flames, according to Jose Laurencia Silva, a reporter for the newspaper El Expreso Bolivar.
A wing spun off, slamming into the homes, Silva said.
Firefighters doused flames amid brush in the shantytown.
A 22-year-old woman and her two children, 2 years and 6 months old, were in stable condition with burns at a local hospital, said Angel Rangel, director of Venezuela's national civil defense agency.
Rutaca Flight 225 was headed from Canaima, a gateway for tourists to Angel Falls, the world's highest waterfall, in Venezuela's famed Gran Sabana territory, an area of lush tropical foliage and soaring mesas.
It was bound for Por La Mar, a city on an island off the country's northern, Caribbean coast.
The flight landed for refueling in Ciudad Bolivar, about 335 miles (500 kilometers) southeast of Caracas, Venezuela's capital, Rangel said.
Minutes after taking off, the plane tried to turn back for an emergency landing.
The plane's pilot, Angel Lopez, notified air control officials that he was turning back but did not say why and did not announce an emergency, said Air Rescue Service Spokesman Benjamin Uquillas.
Uquillas said his agency had begun an investigation to determine the cause of the accident.
Officials have recovered bodies from the wreckage and taken them to a morgue in Ciudad Bolivar, where authorities were trying to contact foreign embassies, TV Guayana reported.
Rutaca is a cargo and passenger carrier based in Ciudad Bolivar.
It flies to Trinidad, Guyana and Venezuelan tourist destinations.
The DC-3 is a U.S.-built, twin-propeller aircraft first introduced in 1935, and the last one was built in 1946.
Hundreds of the rugged crafts remain in service throughout the world as cargo and charter planes.
The age of the plane in Thursday's crash was not known.