Colombian military plane crash kills five: official

Posted at 02/19/09 1:35 AM

BOGOTA - A Colombian Air Force intelligence-gathering plane crashed on a training mission Wednesday, killing all five on board, a military source said.

The crash occurred in Purnio not far from the home of the First Air Command in Puerto Salgar, 170 km (106 mi) northwest of Bogota.

Authorities were investigating the crash of the plane, with registration plate FAC 1659, in which three mid-ranking and two lower ranking officials were killed.

AC-47s have been part of the intelligence gathering team in Colombia for about 18 years. Many of them were donated by the United States as part of the US-funded Plan Colombia including antidrug and anti-insurgent assistance.

The United States has given Colombia five billion dollars since 2000 under the plan.

The planes cost about seven million dollars a unit and include high-tech communications equipment, radar and infrared detectors.