The Civil Aeronautics confirmed that the 14 crew members of the aircraft died.

A DC-3 plane crashed Saturday near the city of Villavicencio, Meta, and its 14 occupants were killed, including a mayor, according to relief agencies, which initially attributed the incident to the failure of an engine. 

The aircraft, registration number HK-2494 and traveling between San José del Guaviare and Villavicencio, declared an emergency at 10:40 am before falling into the rural area of ​​La Bendición. Although at first, the Civil Defense spoke of 12 occupants (ten passengers and two crew), then the Civil Aeronautics confirmed that there were 14 fatal victims of this event.

“Unfortunately, according to the information provided by the rescue agencies that arrived in the area, there are no survivors,” added Civil Aeronautica de Colombia in a statement.

Among the victims are the mayor of the municipality of Taraira, Doris Villegas , her husband and daughter, as well as the owner of the aircraft, the pilot and co-pilot.

The DC-3, an American-made twin-engine plane, was flying for Laser Aéreo, a cargo and passenger transport company.

Contacted by the AFP, the company declined to rule on the accident.

Motor failure

The aircraft fell into an unpopulated area surrounded by wax palm crops and next to a road. 

The device caught fire, a spokesman for the fire department told AFP.

According to Colonel Jorge Martínez, director of Civil Defense in the department of Meta, of which Villavicencio is the capital, the accident could have originated in the failure of one of the engines.

“At the moment of flying over the municipality of San Martin, an engine is turned off to this aircraft and the pilot, thanks to his expertise, tries to land it (…) but it gets out of control,” Martínez told RCN channel.

However, Civil Aeronautics has not reported on the reasons for the incident. 

Relief sources initially ruled out adverse weather conditions that could have triggered the emergency.

There was no “bad weather, no mountain or jungle area” that made it difficult to fly, an official with the fire department added.

Along with Mayor Villegas, her husband and daughter also died pilot Jaime Carrillo, co-pilot Jaime Herrera and an aviation technician identified as Álex Moreno, according to the agency.

The Colombian government sympathized with the families of the victims.

“With pain I received the news of the death of 12 people in a plane crash in Meta, including Doris Lizeth Villegas, Mayor of Taraira, Vaupés, and her family, and my heartfelt condolences and message of strength to the families of the deceased”, wrote on Twitter, at the time, Interior Minister Nancy Patricia Gutierrez.

The victims

The list of occupants registered by the Civil Aeronautics is the following:

1.Humberto Araque
2.Doris Villegas
3.Cattalina Araque Villegas
4.Alex Rodríguez
5.Alejandro Fonseca
6. Jaime Carrillo (driver)
7.Jaime Herrera (copilot)
8.Camilo Lozano
9.Sandra Mejía Ibargüen
10.Juan Carlos Méndez Ramos .
11.Cristian Camilo Lozano Escobar
12. Manuel Mejia
13.Willliam Alarcon
14. Alex Moreno (Technical)

The Aerocivil added that, “once the preliminary airworthiness validations were carried out, it was found that aircraft DC-3, HK-2494 had valid certifications.” In the same way, it could be verified that the crew’s licenses and medical certificates were valid. ”