Plane Crashes, Gov Calls It A Miracle

A Boeing 737 jetliner with 131 passengers aboard crashed on landing and broke into three pieces at a Colombian island in the Caribbean early Monday. The region’s governor said it was a miracle that only one person died.

Colombian Air Force Col. David Barrero said officials were investigating reports the plane had been hit by lightning before crashing at 1:49 a.m. (3:49 a.m. EDT; 0649 GMT) while landing at San Andres Island, a resort island of 78,000 people about 120 miles (190 kilometers) east of the Nicaraguan coast.

San Andres Gov. Pedro Gallardo said 125 passengers and six crew members had been aboard, but the only person killed was Amar Fernandez de Barreto, 65. At least five people were reported injured.

“It was a miracle and we have to give thanks to God,” the governor said.

Barrero, commander of the Caribbean Air Group, said by telephone from San Andres that “the skill of the pilot kept the plane from colliding with the airport.”

Barrero said the 7,545-foot (2,300-meter) runway had been closed because parts of the plane were still scattered across it.

The Aires jet had left the Colombian capital of Bogota at about midnight.

Police Gen. Orlando Paez said by telephone that a group of police officers who had been waiting at the airport for the plane to take them back to the Colombian mainland aided in rescuing the victims.

(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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