Venezuelan plane crashes with 51 aboard

Conviasa flight goes down shortly after takeoff. Officials say at least 21 people have survived

Published September 13, 2010 6:39PM (EDT)

A plane carrying 51 people crashed Monday in eastern Venezuela, and officials said at least 21 people survived.

The French-built ATR-42 from the state airline Conviasa crashed about 6 miles (10 kilometers) from the eastern city of Puerto Ordaz at about 10 a.m. (1430 GMT), Transportation Minister Francisco Garces told state television. He said the plane went down on the property of the state-run Sidor steel foundry.

Rescue workers were tending to injured victims, and at least 23 survivors were taken to hospitals, Bolivar state Gov. Francisco Rangel Gomez told the Venezuela-based television network Telesur.

Two of the injured died, while 21 others were being treated, hospital official Yanitza Rodriguez said.

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. Garces had initially said the plane went down shortly after takeoff.

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.

By Fabiola Sanchez

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Latin America Plane Crashes