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Posted Friday, October 9, 2009
At least 11 died in Haiti after UN plane crashed into a mountainside
By Reuters
PORT-AU-PRINCE (Reuters) - A U.N. surveillance plane belonging to the Uruguayan contingent of the U.N. peacekeeping force crashed in Haiti east of the capital on Friday, killing all 11 people on board, U.N. officials said.
U.N. peacekeepers and Haiti residents work together to remove the bodies of soldiers who died in a plane crash in Fonds-Verrettes October 10, 2009. Eleven U.N. peacekeepers died on Friday when their surveillance plane crashed into a mountainside in Haiti during a routine patrol, U.N. officials said. REUTERS/Stringer 

The plane went down near the town of Fonds-Verrettes, close to the border with the Dominican Republic, chief U.N. spokeswoman Michele Montas said.

Another U.N. spokeswoman, Vannina Maestracci, said a U.N. rescue team had confirmed there were no survivors among the 11 crew and military personnel who had been on the plane.

The dead were Uruguayans and Jordanians, Maestracci said.

She said the plane, a Casa-212, had been on a routine border patrol when it crashed into a mountainside. The cause of the crash was unknown.

Earlier, Montas said contact was lost on Friday morning with the plane. Another U.N. plane later spotted the wreckage some 12 miles west of Fonds-Verrettes, she said.

A U.N. peacekeeping force known as MINUSTAH has been in Haiti since 2004. It consists of some 9,000 troops and police.

The plane crashed near the village of Pays-Pourri in the district of Ganthier, east of the Haitian capital, Port-au-Prince, and nine bodies were recovered at the scene, said Eralus Thelusme, an official with the Pays-Pourri government.

"Nine people have been found dead. They were wearing green uniforms," he said.

(Reporting by Joseph Guyler Delva in Port-au-Prince and Patrick Worsnip at the United Nations; Editing by Jim Loney and Peter Cooney)
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