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Tue, Apr 19, 2005

GA Aircraft Shot Down Over Brazil

Federal Police Say It Was Smuggling -- Maybe

Brazilian federal police aircraft intercepted and shot down a twin-engine general aviation aircraft as its pilot attempted to take-off Sunday. The 65-year old pilot was reportedly killed. His 50-year old passenger was arrested.

Authorities did not say what type of aircraft was involved. It was shot down at an airfield near the town of Santana do Livramento, on the Uruguayan border.

"The plane probably came from Paraguay," a Brazilian police spokeswoman told reporters. "They must have thrown the drugs into Uruguayan territory and wanted to fill up with fuel for the return. But the police were waiting when it landed and a military plane was landing to support the operation.

"The traffickers tried to take off again to escape," she said, "but they were shot down for violating air safety regulations that say a landing craft has priority over one taking off."

The 65-year old pilot was identified as Alcides Correa Dacosta, a resident of Brazil. The passenger, Lauter Verone Rogenski, was slightly hurt in the shoot-down.

Investigators said they found GPS equipment inside the aircraft, programmed with coordinates in Uruguay. No drugs were found on board.



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