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10 dead in Colombian plane crash

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The bodies of 10 people killed aboard a Colombian plane that crashed in the Amazon jungle were recovered Sunday, officials said.

A Colombian Air Force helicopter took the bodies to the town of Araracuara, where the aircraft had taken off the day before for Florence, capital of the southwestern department of Caqueta.

Rescue team official Gustavo Ortega told AFP the eight passengers and two crew died on impact after Saturday’s crash, minutes after takeoff.

Ortega said all the dead — six men, three women and a young girl — were Colombian nationals.

During its mission to recover the bodies, the helicopter found six relatives of the victims who were lost in the jungle while looking for the downed aircraft on their own, the air force said.

The Laser company aircraft took off from Araracuara Airport in the country’s south around 3:00 pm local time (2000 GMT) on Saturday. It lost contact with air traffic control as it went over the town of Florencia.

The wreck of the aircraft was located — fragmented and incinerated — 10 kilometers (six miles) from the urban center of the town of Puerto Santander.

Ortega said the flight was a normal commercial route. Air travel is a popular method of transport in the jungle region because of poor roads.

The cause of the accident was under investigation.

However, one man who was supposed to have boarded the flight, Silvio Rojas, told RCN Radio the plane appeared to suffer engine failure shortly after take-off.

“There was a lot of smoke from the left engine,” he said. SAPA

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