A teenage girl from the US who was visiting Puerto Rico with her relatives died when a small plane crashed off the island’s north coast, authorities said. The pilot and two other US tourists were hospitalised with severe burns yesterday, police spokeswoman Maria del Pilar Bon told The Associated Press.
The unidentified girl was about 15 years old, and her body was recovered underwater, Ports Authority spokesman Juan Carlos Hernandez told the AP. He said officials did not immediately know the victims’ state or hometown.
The plane had departed the island’s main international airport and was headed to the popular nearby island of Culebra east of Puerto Rico when it malfunctioned, Hernandez said.
It plunged into the ocean near a crowded beach in the community of Pinones, east of the capital of San Juan. Several people swam to the crash to help save those aboard before a fire erupted at the site. One witness told reporters that he could not unbuckle the seatbelt of the girl who died.
The plane is owned by Air America, a Puerto Rico-based charter flight company, Hernandez said. The company offers flights within Puerto Rico and to nearby Caribbean islands.