Tue, Apr 18, 2006
Believed To Have Been Heading To US
After agents warned its pilot not to
take off, a general aviation aircraft suspected of drug smuggling
was chased by a Panamanian Air Force helicopter Sunday, before
being shot down.
One person onboard the aircraft was killed as it impacted a
banana plantation, and the only other person onboard was injured.
Local media reports the two onboard the plane were Mexican
nationals, although officials refused to confirm their
Panamanian officials told Reuters the plane was on a runway
preparing for takeoff at a regional airport near the Costa Rican
border when aviation agents asked its pilot to remain on the
ground. The agents had been tipped off by local residents, who
warned agents planes had been taking off and landing at the airport
during all hours of the day and night.
The pilot refused to comply with the order, and the plane took
off -- right into the gunsights of the PAF helo.
It was not immediately clear what type of drugs the plane was
carrying, although authorities said they believe the aircraft was
heading to the United States to deliver its illegal cargo.
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