Missing Plane Found, Two U.S. Officials Dead
SANTIAGO, Chile (AP) _ A police plane missing since last week was found Saturday crashed in the Andes mountains and the air force said all five passengers aboard died, including two American officials.
The head of the Air Force Rescue Service, Cmdr. Rodolfo Acuna, said the Cessna 206 plane crashed in the Andes 466 miles northeast of Santiago, at an altitude of around 10,500 ft. near a natural lagoon.
″A police helicopter reached the site of the crash tonight, and its crew, unfortunately, confirmed that all five passengers are dead,″ Acuna said.
He said the aircraft ″was destroyed by the impact of the crash and by fire.″
Rescue patrols will be sent early Sunday to recover the bodies, he said.
The Americans killed were John Harty, Jr. and Patrick Pouzar, officials of the Food and Drug Administration who arrived in Chile a week ago to check security procedures in the export of fruit to the United States.
The security checks were part of an agreement reached with Chile after two grapes laced with cyanide were found in Philadelphia last year. The finding prompted the temporary suspension of the sale of all Chilean fruit in the United States.
The Chileans on the plane were Lt. German Mesa, a police pilot, Oscar Badilla, a government agricultural official, and Sergio Lazcano, an executive for the Chilean Fruit Exporters Association.
The discovery of the wreckage ended a three-day search involving more than 20 aircraft and hundreds of men in land patrols.
The plane disappeared Wednesday night during a flight to Santiago from Copiapo, a city in the Atacama desert 500 miles north of Santiago, the capital.