Ecuador Plane Crashes in Colombia
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QUITO, Ecuador (AP) _ An Ecuadorean jetliner carrying 92 people, including seven children, crashed in Colombia on Monday in the fogbound mountains of the Andes, the airline said.
The Boeing 727-100 from Ecuador’s TAME airline originated in the capital, Quito, and was headed to the Ecuadorean border city of Tulcan, 110 miles to the northeast. Its flight plan took it over the Colombian city of Ipiales, the airline said.
It crashed near Ipiales, just over the border from Tulcan, said TAME spokeswoman, Toa Quirola. ``We don’t have any more information at this time,″ she said. The mayor’s office of Ipiales said the city was foggy at the time the plane went down.
Diego Vallejo, a spokesman for the Ecuadorean Red Cross, said rescue workers knew where the plane crashed but that they hadn’t been able to reach the site. ``The plane is located in Colombian territory,″ he said, without specifying where. Vallejo said his organization had contacted the Colombian Red Cross about the rescue effort.
Colombia offered to help locate the aircraft, Colombian Civil Aviation director Juan Carlos Velez said, adding that he could not confirm the plane went down in Colombian territory.
Colombian air force spokeswoman, Maj. Angela Rodriguez, said Colombian authorities ruled out a guerrilla attack on the plane and said Colombian air force planes were being mobilized for the search.
The jetliner, which was carrying 83 passengers, including seven children, and nine crew members, lost radio contact at 10:23 a.m., Ecuador’s Civil Aviation department said.
It was the second crash this month in the border region.
A plane from Ecuador’s state-owned oil company with 26 people on board crashed in Colombian territory Jan. 17 while heading from Quito to Lago Agrio, an oil outpost in the Amazon jungle 110 miles northeast of the capital.
Six days later, searchers found the wreckage of the twin-engine propeller plane on a jungle-covered hillside a few miles across the border. All 21 passengers and five crew members on board died.
Tulcan is about 30 miles northwest of where the oil company plane crashed.
A spokeswoman for the Colombian air force, Maj. Angela Rodriguez, said Colombian authorities were ruling out a possible guerrilla attack on the TAME airliner. She said Colombian air force planes were being mobilized for the search.
Rebels have been active in the border area, but there have been no known cases of the guerrillas trying to down an airliner in Colombia’s 38-year war.