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Venezuelan Plane Crashes


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    A plane carrying 51 people from a Caribbean island crashed Monday in eastern Venezuela, and officials said 33 survived, while the rest were killed or missing. At least 14 people were killed and four were missing in the crash about six miles (10 kilometers) from the eastern city of Puerto Ordaz, Bolivar state Gov. Francisco Rangel Gomez told reporters.

    The French-built ATR-42 from the state airline Conviasa slammed into a lot used by the state-run Sidor steel foundry, leaving its smashed fuselage among barrels and shipping containers.

    The governor said 33 people survived and were being treated at hospitals.

    The plane, a twin-engine turboprop, was carrying 47 passengers and four crew members, Rangel Gomez said.

    He said that Conviasa Flight 2350 had taken off from Margarita Island and crashed shortly before reaching its destination, the airport of Puerto Ordaz.

    It was unclear what caused the crash.

    The state airline, Consorcio Venezolano de Industrias Aeronauticas y Servicios Aeros SA, began operations in 2004. It says it serves destinations in Venezuela, the Caribbean, Argentina, Iran and Syria.

    UPDATE: April 14, 2011

    The plane crash in Venezuela that left 17 people dead and 34 others injured last September was caused by mechanic failure, and US maintenance workers were to blame, authorities said.

    The hitch was a result of poor maintenance work of the ATR-42 Conviasa aircraft, the El Nacional daily quoted final findings of an investigation by the Air Accident Investigation Board as saying Friday.

    The plane had received maintenance service in the United States that cost Venezuela 1.2 million US dollars but proved to be “ineffective,” the investigators said.


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