Paraguayan minister, deputy die in plane crash
ASUNCION - AFP/AA
Paraguay’s agriculture minister and a deputy minister were among four people killed in an airplane crash near the Argentine border, rescuers said Thursday.
The twin-engine light aircraft had taken off from the southern fishing town of Ayolas on Wednesday afternoon but crashed soon afterward, just eight kilometers (4 miles) from the airport.
"There are no survivors," Roque Gonzalez, a member of a search and rescue unit, told AFP.
The dead were identified as agriculture minister Luis Gneiting, deputy livestock minister Vicente Ramirez, civil servant Luis Charotti and pilot Gerardo Lopez.
Gneiting was returning to the capital Asuncion, 300 kilometers away, after visiting his terminally ill mother, who died on Thursday just hours after her son.
The cause of the crash was not immediately clear.
“We are saddened to hear that Agriculture Minister Luis Gneiting and Vice Minister Vicente Ramirez of Paraguay and two pilots lost their lives in the plane crash on the evening of July 25th in Paraguay,” the ministry said in a statement.
The ministry “conveys our condolences to the relatives of those who lost their lives in the accident and the Government and people of Paraguay”.