No survivors in West Caribbean MD-82 crash

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Flight International online news 09:30 GMT: Colombian civil aviation administration, Aerocivil, has confirmed that there are no survivors from the West Caribbean Airways-operated Boeing MD-82 aircraft which crashed in Venezuela on 16 August.

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                                                             Willem Alberto, The Flying Dutchman

According to an Aerocivil source the aircraft was on a charter flight from Panama to Martinique when the pilot issued a distress call at about 03:00 local time indicating problems with both engines and requesting an emergency landing at Caracas International Airport. Air traffic control lost contact with the aircraft 10 minutes later reports Flight International sister publication Air Transport Intelligence.

According to a statement from the airline, there were 8 crew and 152 passengers on board.

West Caribbean Airways suffered another fatal crash last March on the Colombian island of Providencia.

Based in Medellin, the company had been under close scrutiny of Aerocivil and in July was instructed to ground its entire MD-80 fleet temporarily after Aerocivil highlighted certain maintenance shortcomings – although a West Caribbean Airways source indicates that these were related to cabin fire insulation materials and have since been corrected.

The crashed aircraft (HK-4374X), photographed last month at Rionegro Medellin by Willem Alberto, had recently been repainted into the airline's new colour scheme (see pic above).

RAINER UPHOFF / MADRID