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Plane with 46 people aboard missing in Venezuela
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A plane carrying 46 people has gone missing in Venezuela, the nation's aviation authority said Thursday.

The Santa Barbara Airlines plane, carrying 43 passengers and three crew members, took off at 4:59 P.M. local time (2059 GMT) Thursday from Merida, in southwestern Venezuela, to Maiquetia airport, 30 km north from Caracas.

But the ATR42-300 twin-engine plane did not arrive at its destination.

Venezuelan authorities have launched an emergency search and rescue operation.

Local media reported the plane had crashed in the Andean mountain state of Merida.

(Xinhua News Agency February 22, 2008)

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