Venezuela’s government has condemned the scrapping of a Boeing 747-300M following its retrieval by US authorities from Buenos Aires, where the jet had been impounded nearly two years.

The 747, in the livery of Emtrasur, had been the subject of a legal wrangle after the US government alleged it was being used for activities prohibited by sanctions, particularly against Iran.

It was flown from Buenos Aires to Florida on 12 February.

Images circulating on social media indicate that the airframe, with its livery de-identified and its engines removed, has since been broken up.

The Venezuelan government says the aircraft has been “destroyed” having been “stolen” from Argentinean territory, adding that it “categorically denounces the act of vandalism”.

Emtrasur 747-300M-c-Venezuelan transport ministry

Source: Venezuelan transport ministry

Emtrasur’s 747-300M had been impounded in Argentina for months

This condemnation is echoed by the Latin American intergovernmental economic organisation ALBA-TCP – of which Venezuela is a founding member – which refers to the “unjustifiable destruction” of the 747.

Powered by General Electric CF6 engines, the aircraft was originally delivered to French carrier UTA in 1986.