Cargo plane crashes into Ecuadorian neighborhood
More than 20 killed
October 23, 1996
Web posted at: 9:15 a.m. EDT (1315 GMT)
QUITO, Ecuador (CNN) -- Rescue teams were searching a heavily
populated neighborhood of Manta Wednesday after a Miami-bound
cargo plane crashed into that Ecuadorian port city, killing
at least 23 people.
The dead included all three crew members, radio reports said.
Officials fear the toll will climb higher in Dolorosa, a poor
neighborhood of Manta.
Witnesses say the Boeing 707 rained flaming debris over
tightly-packed houses after it clipped the bell tower of a
church and exploded late Tuesday night. The crash came
shortly after takeoff from the airport in Manta, about 290
miles southeast of the capital Quito.
Journalist Eduardo Gonzalez describes the crash
(26 sec./283K AIFF or WAV sound)
"We rushed out and we saw that it was ripping the roofs off
all the houses," one man told a local radio station. "Two
houses just before ours fell over and collapsed just because
of the force of the impact."
Police said at least 60 were wounded, many seriously. A
doctor at Rodriguez Zambrano Hospital in Manta said at least
six victims there were in critical condition and would be
transferred to another facility for intensive burn treatment.
Ecuadorian President Abdala Bucaram declared a national day
of mourning, and arrived in Manta early Wednesday to oversee
rescue work. Manta Mayor Jorge Zambrano declared three days
of mourning in the city "in sympathy with the families
affected by this accident."
The cargo plane was owned by the U.S. company Millon Air and
flew to Miami once a week. It was carrying a cargo of frozen
fish and flowers, according to a radio station.
Reuters contributed to this report.
© 1996 Cable News Network, Inc.
All Rights Reserved.