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Mon, May 28, 2007

Thirteen Bodies Recovered from Peruvian Airplane Crash

Disagreement As To Number of Survivors In Thursday's Accident

Peruvian police recovered the remains of 13 people killed in a plane crash Thursday, including the three-man crew, in the country's northeastern jungle, a regional official said.

The Defense Ministry said 20 people were traveling aboard the De Havilland plane, but there were conflicting reports from police and the ministry about the number of survivors, reported the Associated Press.

Police said there are seven survivors, while the ministry originally said eight. Defense Ministry officials were not immediately available for comment Sunday.

The Defence Ministry had not yet released the passenger list or an official report of the crash.

The government flight was part of the air force's civic action flights, which connect small communities in the jungle not served by commercial airliners, as originally reported by ANN.

The Twin Otter crashed in Peru's northeastern jungle in a rainstorm, plowing into dense jungle an hour after takeoff.

Norman Lewis del Alcazar, vice president of the Loreto region, said it was raining heavily when the flight left from Orellana. The plane originated in Iquitos, the capital of Loreto.

The plane apparently was caught in a strong wind when it crashed 350 miles northeast of Lima, said Juan Montes, a police spokesman in the jungle village Contamana, the flight's next scheduled stop.

State news agency Andina reported that strong winds knocked down trees and ripped the roofs off some homes in the area that day.

Ivan Vasquez, president of the Loreto region, where the government-operated flight originated, told Lima radio station Radioprogramas that rough terrain made recovering the bodies "rather difficult." Officials found the twin-engine Twin Otter aircraft in a low, jungle-covered mountain range.

FMI: www.andina.com.pe, www.peru.gob.pe, www.fap.mil.pe

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