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No Survivors in Costa Rica Crash

August 27, 2000

SAN JOSE, Costa Rica (AP) _ Rescuers on Sunday reached the wreckage of a small plane that crashed into a volcano with two pilots and eight foreign passengers on board, but have found no survivors, officials said.

Two bodies were found inside the airplane, according to the Red Cross. Television footage showed other bodies scattered on the ground on the side of the mile-high Arenal volcano.

Reports surfaced Saturday that emergency flares had been fired in the area. About 200 rescue workers climbed the volcano, located 60 miles north of the capital, San Jose, after rescue planes spotted the wreckage on Sunday morning.

``They are arriving where the plane is and finding scattered pieces″ of wreckage, a Red Cross worker told local Channel 7 television, which broadcast shots of the site from a helicopter.

A judge has been sent to the site to confirm the passengers’ deaths before rescuers remove the bodies.

The pilot and co-pilot were identified as Karl Acevedo Nevermann, 22, and William Bobadilla, both from Costa Rica.

The airline, National Aerial Services, or Sansa, told The Associated Press on Sunday that among the passengers were a Canadian woman, a Swiss woman and a Dutch woman. Officials did not release any names or the nationalities of the other five passengers. On Saturday, Red Cross and police officials said two Swiss women were on board.

The 15-seat Caravan plane was flying between the northern region of La Fortuna, where the volcano is located, and Tamarindo, a beach town on the Pacific coast, when air traffic controllers lost contact about 1:30 p.m. Saturday.

The flight originated in San Jose at 12:15 p.m., stopping briefly in the town of La Fortuna de San Carlos, where Japanese passenger Masaru Hamatani, 52, got off, officials said.

Red Cross spokesman Jorge Jimenez said the destroyed plane was spotted 100 yards beneath the volcano’s crater.

The crash site was in an area that normally takes about three hours to reach on foot from the nearest village, Jimenez said. He said the trek was made more difficult Sunday because the area was still littered with hot lava and rocks from an eruption of the volcano last Wednesday.

Rescue workers on Saturday climbed the nearby Chato mountain after receiving an emergency signal from the plane that seemed to be coming from that area. They changed their route Sunday after rescue planes spotted the wreckage on the volcano.

Saturday’s crash was apparently the second deadly encounter in less than a week with the Arenal volcano. A tour guide died on Thursday from injuries suffered while hiking when the volcano erupted.

A 43-year-old Boston woman and her 8-year-old daughter, who were hiking with the guide, were flown to a hospital in Texas for treatment of second- and third-degree burns from the falling lava and rocks. The volcano has been active since 1968.

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