Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Plane Crashes in Venezuela Rain Forest--But Wait There Are Flares! Maybe Survivors?

Great luck with the Internet so far, so here goes again.
Probably 20 years ago a plane carrying six people, including a relative of the president of Venezuela, crashed in the rain forest in what must have been the southern part of the country. The airport the plane intended to land at was not far from the famed Angel Falls.
The story at the time was those on the ground at the airport heard the plane fly over, but visibility was so low no one could see the plane. And, no one on the plane could see the ground, let alone the airstrip.
The plane subsequently crashed in the rain forest.
Again, according to the the story, several times over successive nights crews of other airplanes flying over the same area reported seeing flares flashing into the sky. The view was survivors from the plane crash must have fired the flares.
Soon someone requested help from the US Air Force, and it dispatched a C-130 from Howard Air Base in Panama.
Once in Venezuela, The Air Force C-130 launched its search from the same air field that was the missing airplane’s destination.
There was some hope for success because on the plane's first pass, a crew member aboard the C-130 spotted what he thought to be a metal shard hanging from a tree. Encouraged and hoping the metal could be from the missing plane, the C-130 winged its way back and forth over that area over and over again. Crew members intently looked for the downed plane and, hopefully, its survivors.
If the US Air Force plane found the survivors, then a US Army Special Forces team stood by to be dropped in to give aid to people from the missing airplane.
Alas, no one saw that metal shard again or anything else to give them the slightest hint as to the location of the downed planed.
Finally, the C-130 aircraft commander decided further searching useless. He called off the search. The aircraft returned to Panama, and no one connected with the C-130 or the Air Force, at least, heard anything more about the missing plane and its passengers.
The question that still remains in my own mind is: were the people from that crashed airplane ever found—dead or alive? Does anyone have the slightest idea what happened to them—even any speculation as to what might have happened?
I was in Panama the time that Air Force aircraft made its search, and I was there a few years later with another Air Force plane when it stopped briefly at the airport in Caracas. I asked several people I met at that airport if they knew anything about that missing plane. None did, though I’m not sure anyone I spoke to really understood what I was talking about.
So, I post this on the web, in hopes that someone somewhere will solve this true mystery for me!

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