Both pilots among fatalities in Conviasa ATR crash

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Neither pilot appears to have survived yesterday's crash of a Conviasa ATR 42 in Venezuela, after the twin-turboprop came down in the grounds of a steel plant in Puerto Ordaz.

The aircraft was destroyed on impact at a plant run by Siderurgica del Orinoco near the aircraft's destination of Ciudad Guayana.

It had been operating a local service from Porlamar, off the northern Venezuelan coast, with 47 passengers and four crew members.

Venezuelan rescue sources report that both the captain and the first officer of the aircraft were among 15 occupants killed in the accident.

Circumstances of the crash remain unclear. The steel plant lies about 7km southwest of Manuel Carlos Piar Airport, on the extended centreline of runway 07, but there is no confirmation as to the aircraft's trajectory at the time.

Neither is there any immediate meteorological data from the airport. The accident occurred at around 09:50, and images from the scene appear to indicate relatively good weather.

 conviasa atr crash

ATR confirms that the aircraft involved bore serial number 371 and had been delivered in February 1994.

"At this time the reasons for the accident are still unknown," it says.

The airframer says it had conducted more than 27,000 cycles and accumulated over 25,000 flight hours. Conviasa acquired the aircraft in October 2006.

France's Bureau d'Enquetes et d'Analyses is to assist the investigation, says ATR, adding that it will provide technical support to the inquiry.