Bogota (Colombia): A Boeing 737 jetliner
with 131 passengers aboard crashed on landing and broke into
three pieces at a Colombian island in the Caribbean early
today. The region`s governor said it was a miracle that only
one person died.
Colombian Air Force Col David Barrero said officials
were investigating reports the plane had been hit by lightning
before crashing at 1:49 a m (1219 IST) while landing at San
Andres Island, a resort island of 78,000 people about 190
kilometres east of the Nicaraguan coast.
San Andres Gov Pedro Gallardo said 125 passengers and
six crew members had been aboard, but the only person killed
was Amar Fernandez de Barreto, 65. At least five people were
"It was a miracle and we have to give thanks to God,"
the governor said.
Barrero, commander of the Caribbean Air Group, said by
telephone from San Andres that "the skill of the pilot kept
the plane from colliding with the airport".
Barrero said the 7,545-foot (2,300-metre) runway had
been closed because parts of the plane were still scattered
The Aires jet had left the Colombian capital of Bogota
at about midnight.
Police Gen Orlando Paez said by telephone that a group
of police officers who had been waiting at the airport for the
plane to take them back to the Colombian mainland aided in
rescuing the victims.