Latin America & Caribbean

Plane crash in Venezuela kills 15

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Media captionThe plane went down on wasteland owned by the state-run Sidor steel mill

A plane crash in Venezuela has killed 15 people - but 36 passengers have survived the impact, officials say.

The ATR-42 turboprop, belonging to the state airline Conviasa, came down shortly after leaving Manuel Carlos Piar airport, outside Ciudad Guayana.

Bolivar State Governor Francisco Rangel Gomez said the aircraft had 47 passengers and four crew on board.

The pilots of the aircraft, having left the island of Margarita, reported technical problems before it crashed.

"We still don't know the exact cause," Mr Gomez told state television.

Transport Minister Francisco Garces said the short-haul airliner crashed at about 1000 local time (1430 GMT), some 10km (six miles) from Puerto Ordaz, a suburb of Ciudad Guayana where the airport is located.

The plane went down on wasteland owned by the state-run Sidor steel mill, he added.

Mr Gomez said the area was used to store barrels of material used in the steel industry, and that no Sidor workers had been hurt. The mill has since been evacuated.

In the last major air crash in Venezuela in 2008, a plane crashed into the Andes mountains in the west of the country, killing all 46 people on board.

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