Wednesday, February 18, 2009
All on board the plane are believed to have been killed, according to Colombia Reports. Among the dead, according to Monsters and Critics, are two technicians, a major and two second lieutenants. ABS-CBN News reports that the dead included three high ranking officials and two lower ranking ones.
Jorge Ballesteros, a Colombian air force official, says that the plane took off from an air force base in the city of Puerto Salgar and was on an exercise mission when it crashed. He also states that although it was on a training exercise, the plane was carrying bombs and machine guns.
A military team has been dispatched to the area to investigate the incident, but they have already put the blame on mechanical failure. Ballestero noted that investigators have ruled out a rebel attack and terrorism as possible causes.
AC-47’s have been used by the Colombian air force for nearly 20 years, most of which were donated from the United States. They were provided to the country in an attempt to fight the illegal drug market and to defend citizens and the military against rebel attacks. They are also used to gather intelligence and come equipped with a state-of-the-art communications system, radar and infrared detection systems.