15 killed in Venezuelan plane crash, 36 survive ordeal

September 14, 2010 02:59
1 minute read.

CARACAS, Venezuela— A plane carrying 51 people crashed Monday in a steel mill yard in eastern Venezuela, killing 15 people on board, officials said.

Workers at the state-run Sidor steel foundry pulled people from the smoking wreckage of the plane owned by Venezuelan state airline Conviasa, and officials said 36 passengers and crew survived.

Foundry worker Frank Oliveros, 44, said he saw a huge billow of smoke after the crash, then saw the wreckage through the smoke and joined dozens of fellow employees and firefighters who rushed to the scene.

"I don't remember names ... faces," Oliveros told The Associated Press by telephone. "Our only interest was getting all the people out of there alive."

The partially scorched fuselage of French-built ATR 42 rested among barrels and shipping containers.

At least 15 people were killed after the crash about six miles (10 kilometers) from the eastern city of Puerto Ordaz, Bolivar state Gov. Francisco Rangel Gomez told reporters. Forensic experts have yet to identify six of the bodies, he said.

The state airline, Consorcio Venezolano de Industrias Aeronauticas y Servicios Aeros SA, began operations in 2004. It says it serves destinations in Venezuela, the Caribbean, Argentina, Iran and Syria.

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