Military plane crashes in Ecuador, killing 22

Soundbite: Martin Quito, Governor of Pastaza Province
“We have requested the help of the public prosecutor, so we can move the bodies and have them immediately transported to Quito. That’s what we want, since the victims were from different cities. Here at the site, the work is taking place as quickly as possible, what’s needed to carry out the autopsy here, because we are more or less an hour away from Hacienda Palestina’s main roadway. So, we will see what we can do. Hopefully, we can return the victims as quickly as possible.”

A military aircraft crashed in the Ecuadorian eastern province of Pastaza, killing all 22 people on board, military authorities said on Tuesday.

The accident occurred at around 230 pm local time(1930 GMT), when the soldiers were to conduct a parachuting exercise, the Defense Ministry of Ecuador said in a statement.

The pilot radioed the airport, asking for permission to return due to adverse weather conditions. The contact was lost shortly afterwards, according to Social Communication Department of the Ecuadorian Army.

Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa confirmed the crash on his official Twitter account. There are no survivors. 22 soldiers of our country left us, he said, describing the event as a tragedy.

An Arava plane, belonging to the Ecuadorian Airforce, took off from the Shell airport in Pastaza at 1251 pm local time.

The plane was carrying a contingent of 19 paratroopers, two pilots, and one mechanic.

The plane crashed near the town of La Palestra, and two airforce helicopters were dispatched to search for it. Defense Minister Ricardo Patino also rushed to the scene.

Video courtesy: Telam. Enditem

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