QUITO – Twenty-two people died on Tuesday when the military aircraft they were traveling in plunged to earth in the eastern Ecuadorian province of Pastaza, President Rafael Correa reported on his Twitter account.
“There are no survivors. ... It’s a tragedy,” wrote the president.
The Arava military personnel transport was being used in a course to train parachute instructors when it went down at about 2:30 p.m. in the Fatima sector of the Amazonian province, the army said in a communique.
Nineteen parachutists were riding in the plane, along with two pilots and a mechanic, according to the source, who added that two military helicopters and land patrols were deployed to undertake search and rescue operations once the aircraft went down.
Defense Minister Ricardo Patiño said that he will travel to the area of the accident.
Interior Minister Jose Serrano added his voice on Twitter to the messages of condolence, expressing his solidarity with the armed forces “and ... the families (of) all the crew and passengers in the accident.”