Colombia plane breaks into pieces after crash

A police officer stands by a crashed plane sitting on the runaway at the airport on San Andres island in Colombia The Boeing 737 broke-up after crashing short of the runway

A Colombian passenger plane crashed and broke up as it came into land on an island in the Caribbean, injuring 114 people, officials have said.

One person died, apparently from a heart attack.

The Boeing 737 was carrying 131 passengers and crew when it tried to land on the Colombian island of San Andres.

The passenger jet, operated by local airline Aires, was reportedly hit by lightning before it crashed.

It had flown from the Colombian capital, Bogota.

Col David Barrero from the Colombian Air Force said reports suggested the plane had crashed at 0149 (0649 GMT) and that "the skill of the pilot kept the plane from colliding with the airport".


A police statement said the plane's fuselage had broken up into three pieces.

San Andres map

The pilot reported that the plane was struck by lightning, Donald Tascon, deputy director of Colombia's aeronautics authority, said.

"We are inspecting the remains of the plane to try to establish what the damages were and what caused the accident," he told Reuters news agency.

Of 99 passengers taken to the Amor de Patria Hospital on San Andres, only four suffered major injuries according to the hospital director, Dr Robert Sanchez.

The 68-year-old woman who died is thought to have died from a heart attack, Dr Sanchez told Reuters.

San Andres Governor Pedro Gallardo described it as a "miracle" that so many survived.

"We have to give thanks to God," he said.

San Andres Island, about 190km (120 miles) east of the Nicaraguan coast, is a popular tourist destination.

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