Seven die as military plane crashes into building in Ecuador capital

March 20th, 2009 - 12:06 pm ICT by IANS  

Quito, March 20 (DPA) Seven people were killed when a military aircraft crashed into an apartment building in thick fog and exploded in the capital of Ecuador.
All five people on board the eight-seat propeller Beechcraft plane and two people on the ground died in Thursday night’s crash in northern Quito, authorities said. Four people were injured, one seriously.

The plane was flying low as it prepared to land in Quito and grazed a tree before it flew into the building, witnesses said.

It was on a training flight from Manta on Ecuador’s central coast and was carrying three military personnel and the wife and 12-year-old son of the pilot, the Defence Ministry said.

One of the dead on the ground was identified as a 60-year-old woman who lived in one of the apartments hit by the plane.

Authorities said they planned to sweep the area for more victims Friday as the search was suspended overnight for lack of visibility.

The neighbourhood where the crash took place has now seen four crashes in the past 27 years, causing 30 deaths. A 1988 crash killed the air force commander and a 1992 accident killed then tourism minister Pedro Zambrano.

President Rafael Correa and Defence Minister Javier Ponce visited the crash site Thursday night.

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