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20.03.2009 International

Deadly army jet crash in Ecuador


A small military plane has crashed into a building in the Ecuadorean capital Quito, killing at least seven people.

The victims included three soldiers and two civilians aboard the Beechraft plane and at least two people on the ground, officials say.

Black smoke billowed from the building in a populated wealthy district in the north of the capital.

The plane crashed in thick fog near the residence of the US ambassador to Ecuador who had not been harmed.

The plane was on a training exercise when it slammed into the side of the four-floor building at about 1720 local time (2220 GMT) on Thursday.

Emergency crews later rescued several injured people, who are said to be in stable condition.

"It was horrible. I heard the plane flying very low, then I heard the explosion. We ran out onto the street and saw fire, local resident Camille Avsert told the Associated Press.

The cause of the crash is being investigated.
The aircraft went down in the area where four other planes crashed in the 1990s.