US contracted drug monitoring aircraft crash leaves four dead

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CMC – The United States Southern Command, which overseas US military operations in the Caribbean and Latin America, says a US-contracted detection and monitoring aircraft has crashed into the Caribbean Sea, killing four of its six crewmembers.

The Southern Command, otherwise known as Southcom, said that the crash took place near the Colombia-Panama border, killing three Americans and a Panamanian Air National Guardsman.

It said two Americans survived the crash, and were rescued by Colombian military forces and taken to a hospital in Bogota, the capital.

The DH-8 aircraft was in support of Operation Martillo, and was monitoring coastal drug trafficking lanes in the Western Caribbean when it crashed on Saturday, Southcom said.

It said the names of the deceased were being withheld pending notification of next-of-kin. The cause of the crash is under investigation.

Southcom said the aircraft lost communications before crashing near the city of Capurgana. There is no indication the plane was shot down, Southcom said.

“We express our sympathies to the families of the deceased, and are particularly saddened by the loss of a Panamanian Air National Guardsman,” said General John Kelly, commander of United States Southern Command, in a statement.

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