Bolivian twin-engine Curtiss C-46 plane crash
Eleven people, including a senior Bolivian opposition senator, have been killed in three separate private plane crashes in Bolivia and Guatemala.
A twin-engine Curtiss C-46 plane with four people on board, including the senator, Gerald Ortiz, crashed just minutes after take-off from the Viru Viri international airport in the eastern Bolivian city if Santa Cruz on Saturday, the country’s chief civil aviation official, Luis Coimbra, said.
The plane, flown by Ortiz’s father, with the senator as second pilot, went down while trying to make an emergency landing. It split into two parts and burst into flames after hitting the ground.
The senator’s son, who was one of the two passengers onboard, survived the crash. He is in hospital.
Ortiz, 46, was head of the commission in charge of international affairs in the Bolivian Senate.
Another plane, the single-engine Cessna 206, disappeared from radar screens in the early hours of Saturday. It crashed 10 kilometers from the southern town of Monteagudo, where it was discovered later in the day. The five people on board died.
The causes of the two crashes are yet to be established. Bolivian President Evo Morales expressed his condolences to the victims’ families.
Another air accident occurred on Saturday in Guatemala, where a private single-engine plane crashed on a zoo on the outskirts of Guatemala City, firefighters said. The three people on board – two crew members and a passenger – were killed.
The plane crew reported a technical failure immediately after take-off from La Aurora airport in the Guatemalan capital. The aircraft crashed while trying to make an emergency landing.
The falling plane had hit a zoo employee who was taken to hospital with serious burns.
There could have been more casualties if the crew did not manage to maneuver the aircraft away from the main area of the zoo where some 100 people gathered on a Saturday afternoon, eyewitnesses said.
An opposition Bolivian Senator Geraldo Ortiz died when his twin-engine plane went down on Saturday outside the eastern city of Santa Cruz.
The Senator’s father, who piloted the plane, and a mechanic were also killed. His son miraculously survived the crash and is in critical condition in hospital.
According to preliminary reports, the aircraft developed a mechanical failure shortly after takeoff. The pilot decided to return to the airport but the plane went down and caught fire.
Source: RIA NOVOSTI & TASS Agency - 22 April 2011
Photo: CP-1655 Curtiss C-46D-15-CU 33294 PP-BUB Delivered to US Air Force in February 1945 - after service in Pakistan it was sold to the Government of India. Later it was registered to some different owners before it became N 3958A with Associated Air Transport. It was then rebuilt by LB Smith to Super 46C and sold to Transair in March 1961as SE-CFH. Upon arrival in Malmö there was a large freight door installed, as this aircraft was the only TSA C 46 that arrived without freight door. Leased by ONU between May 06 1962 until September 23 1963. A new lease under the name Transair Congo took place between June 30 1965 until March 16, 1966. In May the same year it was flown to Las Palmas, Canary Islands for storage. In November it was sold to Paraense, Belem, Brazil for US$ 60.000 and made its delivery flight to the new owners just before Christmas 1966. It was flown Las Palmas - Dakar - Sao Luiz - Belem and the distance between Dakar - Sao Luiz took 10 hours and 36 min, which is a record for TSA C 46. Extra fuel tanks were mounted in Las Palmas before the long ferry flight. It was registered PP-BUB January 10 1967 to Paraense and later sold (1974) with the same registration to TABA (Transportes Aereos Regionais da Bacia Amazonica S.A.) also in Belem, Brazil. It was still there in 1993. In 1995 the aircraft was registered CP-1655 and owned by Servicios Aereos Cochabamba in Bolivia. In 1997 with the same registration the new owner was Servicios Aereos Oriental and 1998 there was again a new owner, Transportes Aereos Universal Ltda. Finally in 1999 the aircraft was still in use and now as CP-1655 with SAO (Servicios Aereos del Oriente). Made a emergency landing at unknown location (Aug. 1999) was deemed not economical for repairs. During 2003 a/c was bought by NEBA Airlines and repaired. Additionally she was ferried to La Paz and noted January 200 (Photo by michaelprophet.com)