Thursday, May 19, 2011

22 people die plane crash in southern Argentina

Twenty-two people were killed Wednesday when it crashed in southern Argentina, the commercial airplane they were riding, officials confirmed Thursday. The aircraft, the airline Sun, rushed into an inhospitable area of the Patagonian plateau in the province of Black River. "Unfortunately we can confirm that there are no survivors," confirmed local media Ismael Ali, director of the hospital in Los Menucos, the location from where they departed the rescue teams to reach the site of the tragedy.

The medical officer, who traveled to the crash site, told the C5N channel all that remains of the plane "are charred pieces." The rescue teams set out from Los Menucos (a 1,387 km southwest of Buenos Aires), about 35 kilometers from the place called Prahuaniyeu in full Somuncurá plateau.

A resident of that place, to walk the path of the place, was the warning given to the Police in Los Menucos, having seen a fireball falling from the sky. "As regards the control, the plane exploded in midair," said Ali, who confirmed that the plane, a Saab 340 aircraft with capacity for 34 passengers, fell 700 meters from a private house.

The hospital's director of Los Menucos said the remains of the bodies of the passengers and crew are charred and indicated that staff working at the scene firefighters, civil defense and police. "What we have seen are the remains of all kinds, small and larger pieces, but all charred," he said.

The Sun Company said in a statement that Flight 5428 was traveling between the cities of Córdoba (central Argentina), Mendoza (west), Neuquén (southwest) and Comodoro Rivadavia (south end). The plane took off from Neuquén at 20:08 local time (23:08 GMT) on Wednesday to meet the final leg bound to Comodoro Rivadavia.

At 20:50 local time (23:50 GMT) was established last contact with the aircraft, from which reported that there was an emergency. According to the statement, the ship departed with 18 adult passengers, a minor, two pilots and a flight attendant, whose name has not been disclosed so far. Sun said it was expected that the last leg of the journey to Comodoro Rivadavia, lasted one hour and fifty minutes and the unit had enough fuel for three hours of flight.

A government spokesman said Black River to a local radio station that the aircraft would have sent three emergency calls had been frozen because of the wings. Local media reported that the accident was caused by a phenomenon called the "icing" that occurs when ice forms on the surface of the airframe.

However, Horacio Darré Sol Planning director, told reporters that "it is impossible to determine the cause of the accident, which will be established by a board of inquiry. The official said the plane went smoothly Neuquén, with a flight plan approved and operable weather. When asked if the unit suffered "icing" Darre said he could not confirm the report because it did not detail the last conversation between the pilot and control tower.

The mayor of Los Menucos, Mabel Yahuar, who also confirmed that there are no survivors and moved to the place of the tragedy, said the site was surrounded by police. "It's very difficult, very painful. There are no survivors," said Yahuar, who indicated that it provided for the formation of a medical and psychological team when they arrive at that location the families of the victims of the accident.

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