Survivors of downed plane offered $8 million in compensation
WASHINGTON -- The Bush administration has proposed paying $8 million to the survivors of a missionary plane that was misidentified as a possible drug-smuggling flight and shot down last year by a Peruvian jet.
An American missionary and her infant daughter were killed.
The request was made last week in President Bush's supplemental spending proposal, which Congress must approve.
"I know that there had been talks about that topic, and I'm not confirming the exact settlement," White House spokesman Ari Fleischer said Sunday as he traveled with the president in Latin America.
The Cessna float plane was fired on in April 2001 after a CIA-operated surveillance plane misidentified it.
Veronica Bowers, 35, and her 7-month-old daughter, Charity, were killed. Her husband, Jim Bowers, and the couple's son, Cory, escaped serious injury. Pilot Kevin Donaldson, who had serious leg wounds, crash-landed the plane on the Amazon River.
Jim Bowers, along with Veronica Bowers' parents, Donaldson and the Association of Baptists for World Evangelism, jointly have been trying to reach a settlement with the government.
"We have already expressed privately and publicly our condolence to the family," said Peru President Alejandro Toledo in an interview Sunday with Fox News.
"It was an accident that we share responsibility on the part of the pilots of the plane as well as our armed forces."