16 die in plane crash in Colombia

Monday, December 17, 2001

BOGOTA, Colombia -- A small plane crashed into the mountains outside the city of Medellin on Sunday, killing all 16 people on board, including three children, authorities said.

The Czech-made Let-410 Turboprop belonging to Colombia's Heliandes airline crashed at about 10:21 a.m., three minutes after taking off in rainy weather from the Medellin airport, airline spokesman Sergio Valencia said.

The plane, with 14 passengers and two crew members on board, was heading to Quibdo, the capital of northern Choco state.

"Apparently, bad weather was to blame," Valencia said.

A search team at the site near the village of San Antonio de Prado, 11 miles south of Medellin, confirmed that there were no survivors, said Jacqueline Gomez Mazo, an Antioquia state rescue official.

Heavy rains prevented removal of the bodies Sunday.

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