Facebook Twitter

Crash in Puerto Rico kills 5 aboard plane

SHARE Crash in Puerto Rico kills 5 aboard plane

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) — A small plane crashed in fog and rain Saturday in northeastern Puerto Rico, killing the pilot and at least four passengers. An airport security officer said all on board were Americans.

There was no sign of survivors. Rescue workers were combing wreckage Saturday night in search of a possible sixth victim, paramedic Amaury Hernandez said by telephone.

The six-seater took off about 2 p.m. Saturday from the outlying island of Culebra and crashed about a half hour later in a mountainous area near the town of Rio Grande, some 22 miles east of San Juan, said Oscar Sotomayor, acting operations director of the State Agency for Emergency Management.

The plane "broke apart into fragments" upon impact, he said.

Firefighters and emergency workers quickly recovered five bodies, including that of a baby, said Justina Quinones, manager of the emergency management agency. The rocky terrain, a drizzling rain and patches of flames were hampering efforts to retrieve all of the plane's scattered parts, firefighter Eric Nieves said.

In Culebra, police officer Jose Romero said the pilot was an American who used his plane to travel to the holiday island of 2,000 people three or four times a year. Romero did not know the pilot's name or hometown.

Airport security officer Maria Victoria also described the pilot as an American. She said he was taking a family of American tourists to San Juan.

"I opened the door and helped them get on the plane," she said.

Officials in Puerto Rico could not immediately confirm the identities or nationalities of any of the passengers. They said the Federal Aviation Administration had been notified and would investigate the crash.