Teenaged Girl From U.S. Mainland Dies In Plane Crash Near Crowded Piñones Beach In Puerto Rico
PINONES PLANE CRASH – The choppy beach at Piñones on the north coast of Puerto Rico in the Atlantic Ocean. Beach goers swam out to the crash site to rescue the injured and bring the dead teen-ager to shore.
SAN JUAN — A teenage girl from the United States mainland who was visiting Puerto Rico with her relatives died Saturday afternoon when a small plane crashed off the island’s north coast, authorities said.
The pilot and two other American tourists were hospitalized with severe burns, police spokeswoman Maria del Pilar Bon said.
The unidentified girl was about 15 years old, and her body was recovered underwater, Ports Authority spokesman Juan Carlos Hernandez said. He said officials did not immediately know the victims’ state or hometown.
The plane had departed the island’s main international airport and was headed to the popular nearby island of Culebra east of Puerto Rico when it malfunctioned, Hernandez said.
It plunged into the ocean near a crowded beach in the community of Piñones, east of the capital of San Juan. Several people swam to the crash to help save those aboard before a fire erupted at the site. One witness told reporters that he could not unbuckle the seatbelt of the girl who died.
The plane is owned by Air America, a Puerto Rico-based charter flight company, Hernandez said. The company offers flights within Puerto Rico and to nearby Caribbean islands.
The director of rescue at the island’s emergency management agency said scuba divers have been dispatched to the plane crash site in the ocean to rescue the injured and retrieve the dead. Nino Correa said four people apparently were on board the flight when it crashed on Saturday.
The plane crashed Saturday afternoon near a crowded beach in the community of Pinones east of the capital, San Juan. Several people swam to the crash to help save those aboard before a fire erupted at the site.
Authorities said they did not immediately have further details. Witnesses told reporters that one of the tourists injured is a young girl who apparently was travelling with her parents.