A small plane with 14 people abroad disappeared off the Venezuelan coast Friday and rescue teams have not found the aircraft yet.
According to Venezuelan emergency management director Gen. Antonio Rivero, the Czech-made LET L-410 plane, belonged to a small Venezuelan airline company Transaven.
The plane took off from Simon Bolivar International Airport near the capital Caracas and disappeared at the sea about 39 km from its destination the Los Roques islands, a popular tourist attraction among Europeans and Americans.
A total of 14 people were on board. The Italian foreign ministry confirmed that eight of the people were Italians. The Venezuelan emergency management agency said there were five Venezuelans on board, including the pilot and co-pilot, as well as a Swiss man, who is initially said to be an American.
Luis Diaz, operation director for the agency, said that engine problems were reported before the plane lost contact with the control center, but there were no evidence that it had crashed.
Gen. Rivero said that six helicopters have been searching through the day, while a navy frigate and two patrol boats continued the work into the night.
(Xinhua News Agency January 5, 2008)