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Plane crashes in Guatemala, kills 6 men

June 29, 2013

MEXICO CITY (AP) — A small plane crashed in an isolated mountain area of western Guatemala on Friday, killing six men and causing scores of villagers to swarm the site and carry off bags of cash, according to a firefighters’ spokesman.

The plane smashed into a hill in the town of Nuevo Porvenir about 90 miles (150 kilometers) from the Mexican border and was completely destroyed, said the spokesman, who spoke on condition of anonymity for security reasons. Four of the victims, including the pilot, were identified as Mexicans and a fifth Venezuelan. The nationality of the sixth was not known.

The spokesman said he saw a pistol among the wreckage and that local villagers were looting, taking luggage and cash in U.S. dollars and Mexican pesos that the victims had been carrying.

Rescue crews and investigators abandoned the area for fear of the villagers, who blocked the road to the morgue as firefighters tried to transport the bodies, the spokesman said. He added that they demanded to be paid to pass.

The area near the border is known for many disputes among villages over land, water and drug trafficking territory.

The pilot’s license said he is native of Tamaulipas state in northern Mexico. The identification of another passenger in the plane said he was from Sonora, a state that also borders the United States.

Update hourly