MIAMI - Three Americans and a Panamanian Air National Guardsman were killed in a plane crash in northern Colombia Saturday morning near the border of Panama. Two Americans survived the crash and were rescued by Colombian military forces and taken to a hospital in Bogota. The DH-8 aircraft, contracted by the U.S. government to provide detection and monitoring of drug trafficking routes in the coastal region of Central America as part of Operation Martillo, lost communications over the Western Caribbean before crashing near the city of Capurgana. There is no indication the plane was shot down.
"We express our sympathies to the families of the deceased, and are particularly saddened by the loss of a Panamanian Air National Guardsman," said Gen. John Kelly, commander of United States Southern Command. "We also want to thank the Colombians for their outstanding rescue and recovery efforts. The U.S., Panama, Colombia, and all of our partners in Operation Martillo remain committed to our longstanding cooperative relationship for counter-narcotics operations."
Names of the deceased are being withheld pending notification of next-of-kin.
For more information about U.S. Southern Command visit www.southcom.mil.