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Plane With 52 Aboard Explodes, Crashes in Colombia

<i> From Times Wires Services</i>

A plane carrying 52 people exploded in midair, split in two and crashed in flames on a farm in northern Colombia on Wednesday evening, officials said.

The only known survivor was a 9-year-old girl who apparently fell out before the plane plunged to the ground. She suffered a broken arm.

The Intercontinental Aviation DC-9, carrying 47 people and five crew, was flying from Bogota to the Caribbean resort of Cartagena.

It was rocked by an explosion about 7:40 p.m. as it flew at 14,000 feet, Civil Aviation Director Alvaro Raad Gomez said. He said the crew of another plane reported seeing the explosion.

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Raad Gomez said it would be “premature and irresponsible” to speculate on whether a bomb downed the flight.

He called the girl’s survival a “miracle of God.”

Intercontinental Aviation President Alfonso Ramirez told RCN radio that, in a conversation with the tower minutes before the crash, the pilot didn’t give any indication of an emergency.

Another airline official said the plane’s maintenance records showed that it was in good condition.

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International airline passenger and pilots groups have rated Colombia one of the world’s most dangerous countries in which to fly because of a series of safety and air traffic lapses.


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