Haiti: Plane crashes outside northern city, 3 dead

AP News
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Posted: Sep 20, 2011 10:23 PM
Haiti: Plane crashes outside northern city, 3 dead

Three people died when a small, twin-engine turboprop aircraft used by a domestic Haitian airline crashed while trying to land during heavy rain in northern Haiti on Tuesday, authorities said.

Police, a city official and the airline Salsa d'Haiti said the plane's two pilots and its only passenger were found dead in the wreckage in a sugar cane field outside the northern coastal city of Cap-Haitien.

Cap-Haitien Mayor Michel St. Croix told The Associated Press that the dead were two men and one woman.

St. Croix said one of the pilots was from the neighboring Dominican Republic and the other from Mexico.

An employee for the airline said the passenger was a regular customer from Vietnam. The employee said he couldn't give his name because he wasn't authorized to speak to the press.

Frantz Lerebours, spokesman for the Haitian National Police, also reported three killed. He said no other passengers were on board.

Earlier, local police officer Ernst Silenceuse told the AP that the plane was a Beechcraft 99. That model can carry two pilots and 15 passengers.

Silenceuse said the plane went down outside Cap-Haitien while trying to land in rain. He said it was the last flight of the day to Cap-Haitien from Haiti's capital, Port-au-Prince.

An Associated Press reporter on the scene, Wendell Bataille, said he saw firefighters struggling to pull the bodies from the crumpled plane in a flooded sugar cane field. A small crowd of onlookers gathered at the edge of the site despite heavy rain.

Haiti's Civil Protection Office initially announced the accident on Twitter.

Salsa executives couldn't be reached for comment Tuesday night.

The Haitian airline was founded in 2008 and offers daily flights from Port-au-Prince to Cap-Haitien, according to its website and Facebook page.