Bo­li­vian plane crashes in Santa Cruz

Malta Independent - - NEWS -

A char­tered cargo plane has killed at least 100 peo­ple after it smashed into a busy street in Santa Cruz, a city in the west of Bo­livia.

The Boe­ing 707 ploughed into build­ings in the city’s main av­enue and crashed into young foot­ballers play­ing at a ground close to the run­way.

The in­ci­dent is feared to have claimed the lives of the plane’s three Amer­i­can crew as well as scores of civil­ians on the ground.

Re­ports sug­gest the Lloyd Aereo Bo­li­viano jet lost power from one of its four en­gines soon after tak­ing off from Santa Cruz air­port at 1330 lo­cal time.

Worst dis­as­ter

Of­fi­cials say it was the worst avi­a­tion dis­as­ter in the his­tory of this South Amer­i­can coun­try.

A Bo­li­vian Air Force of­fi­cer said: “Peo­ple at the scene said they heard an ex­plo­sion be­fore it fell and saw fire in one of the mo­tors on the left wing.”

Ac­cord­ing to ob­servers, the air­craft shaved the tops of trees and de­mol­ished a cor­ner off a pri­mary school.

The wreck­age then ploughed into a shop killing a queue of peo­ple wait­ing to buy paraf­fin.

It fi­nally crashed into a prac­tice field out­side a mu­nic­i­pal foot­ball sta­dium where two teams were play­ing.

Sev­eral spec­ta­tors were killed and eight boys in the chang­ing room at the time of the im­pact were suf­fo­cated by smoke from the burn­ing wreck­age.

An eye­wit­ness said: “All those peo­ple were de­stroyed, burned and mutilated. It was like a scene from Dante.”

At least 100 Bo­li­vians are in hos­pi­tal get­ting treat­ment ac­cord­ing to a govern­ment spokesman.

The plane was owned by Jet Power Inc of Mi­ami Florida and char­tered by the na­tional air­line Lloyd Aereo Bo­li­viano.

The Boe­ing 707 had de­liv­ered oil well ma­chin­ery and other cargo from Hous­ton, Texas to Santa Cruz be­fore its last fa­tal jour­ney.

A to­tal of 91 peo­ple died fol­low­ing the ac­ci­dent - three crew and 88 peo­ple on the ground.

Pres­i­dent Hugo Banzer of Bo­livia an­nounced three days of mourn­ing after the crash.

Fur­ther in­ves­ti­ga­tions re­vealed the ac­ci­dent was prob­a­bly the re­sult of hu­man er­ror.

The crew was suf­fer­ing from fa­tigue and failed to se­lect enough thrust to achieve the nec­es­sary ac­cel­er­a­tion for take-off.

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