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10 killed in eastern Guatemala plane crash

August 25, 2008|From the Associated Press

GUATEMALA CITY — A small plane carrying U.S. humanitarian workers crashed Sunday in a field in eastern Guatemala, killing 10 people, including five Americans, an aviation official and a survivor said.

The pilot of the Cessna Caravan 208 called in engine trouble about 45 minutes after takeoff and tried to make an emergency landing about 60 miles east of here, civil aviation director Jose Carlos said.

Eight passengers were killed, along with the Guatemalan pilot and copilot, Carlos said.

He said five of the passengers killed were Americans, but the nationalities of the other three had not been determined. Four other Americans on board were injured and were being airlifted to a hospital in the capital.

Sarah Jensen, a 19-year-old who survived with minor cuts and bruises, said she and her family were headed to a village in the area of El Estor to build homes for Choice Humanitarian, a group based in West Jordan, Utah.

Her brother and father were killed in the crash, and her mother had serious burns and bruises. The family is from Amery, Wis., Jensen said in a brief interview at the hospital.

It was unclear whether the other Americans were also with Choice Humanitarian. The group did not return calls Sunday afternoon.

Aero Ruta Maya, the airline operating the plane, said only 12 people were on the plane, including the pilots, a discrepancy that could not immediately be resolved.

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