Three US citizens died Tuesday evening after the plane, in which they were flying on an intelligence operation to rescue another three US citizens kidnapped by rebel forces, fell in Colombia's jungle. Ironically, the kidnapped "Americans", were taken hostage after their plane went down too, under rebel heavy fire.
Military sources said the plane fell due to mechanical problems; exactly the same arguments they provided when the other Cessna 208 went down. Then, independent sources proved that FARC units operating in the region shot the first Cessna on February 13.
The plane crashed a hill known as "La Sonora", close to the department of El Paujil, some 370 kilometers South from Bogota. By the time being, Army units are trying to reach the aircraft, but face the presence of rebel forces and weather conditions. El Caqueta, area where the plane fell, is a jungle zone mostly controlled by rebel forces.
Bodies have not been already identified, but US diplomatic sources confirmed to local newspapers that they were taking part of a rescue operation to release three other US citizens held by FARC units. Troops found the wreckage of the Cessna 208 in the southern province of Caqueta, where the previous plane was also lost.
One Colombian official said that the remains of the plane, found near the Larandia military base, had been blackened by fire.
Almost 5,000 Colombian military personnel have been trying to find the abducted Americans, who were taken after a Colombian colleague and a fourth American, were reportedly executed on the spot. FARC has accused the men of being CIA agents but Washington says they were contractors for the Defense Department searching for illegal coca crops, which is almost the same.
It is the first time that US Government employees have been captured during Colombia's four decades of civil war. The Colombian Government has offered a $345,000 reward for information leading to the safe return of the missing men, who have not been identified, yet.
Hernan Etchaleco PRAVDA.Ru Argentina
Photo: Two Cessna 208 like this went down within two months. The death toll: 6 US citizens dead. There are also three other kidnapped.