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Plane crashes off Venezuela with 14 aboard

Search teams are fanning out by air and sea to find the downed plane.

world Updated: Jan 05, 2008 04:26 IST

A plane carrying 14 people crashed into the sea on Friday on its way to Venezuela's Los Roques islands, officials said. Eight Italians and one American were believed on board, but there was no immediate report on casualties.

The twin-engine plane took off from Simon Bolivar International Airport on the coast near Caracas and hit the sea about 10 kilometers (6 miles) from the Caribbean archipelago, said Gen Antonio Rivero, director of Venezuela's emergency management agency. Search teams were fanning out by air and sea to find the downed plane, Rivero said.

Italy's foreign ministry said eight Italians were on board. The passengers also included an American and the rest were Venezuelan, according to an official in Rivero's agency who insisted on anonymity because she wasn't authorized to speak publicy. The US Embassy said it had no immediate information about an American citizen on the plane.

The Los Roques islands are a tourism destination, with a national park and world-class scuba diving off white sand beaches.