BOGOTA – At least 14 people, including a minor, died on Saturday after a Laser Airlines DC-3 aircraft crashed in the central Colombian department of Meta, officials said.
In a tweet, Colombia’s Defensa Civil said that the members of the police, air force, army and volunteers from Meta had recovered 14 bodies from the wreckage of the airplane, which crashed in the village of La Bendicion, in the municipality of San Martin.
The country’s Civil Aeronautics (civil aviation agency) posted a list on Twitter confirming the people who were aboard the plane, including the three crew members, pilot Jaime Carrillo, co-pilot Jaime Herrera and aviation technician Alex Moreno.
Among the passengers was the mayor of Taraira, a municipality located in the southeastern department of Vaupes, Doris Villegas, her husband, Alejandro Fonseca, and their daughter.
Initially, Lt. Fernando Martinez, coordinator of the National Unit for Disaster Risk Management (UNGRD) in Villavicencio, the capital of Meta, told reporters that 12 people had died.
“We have a consolidated (figure) of 12 people dead (...) We have 10 passengers, including a minor, and pilot and co-driver for a total of 12 people dead,” Martinez said.
According to Civil Aeronautics, the plane, registered as HK-2494, which was en route from San Jose del Guaviare town, capital of the department of Guaviare, to Villavicencio, declared an emergency around 10:40 pm.
The Civil Aeronautics also said that according to preliminary information the plane was found in La Bendicion, near Villavicencio, a remote, mountainous jungle area.
Martinez said that La Bendicion sent Red Cross personnel and firefighters to the accident site.
The Douglas DC-3 American-made twin-engine propeller plane began operating in the United States in 1935, but over 80 years later, some of these models are still in use in remote areas of Colombia, mainly for flights in the Llanos Orientales region.
Staff of the Accidents investigation branch of the civil aviation agency is preparing to initiate a procedure established by the International Civil Aviation Organization to determine the possible causes of the accident.