Thursday, January 19, 2012

Helicopter crashes among tabletop mountains in southern Venezuela; pilot and 4 passengers dead

CARACAS, Venezuela—A helicopter has crashed during a tour of the tabletop mountains of southern Venezuela, and an official says five people have been killed.

Col. Julio Fuentes tells Venezuela's state news agency that the helicopter crashed Wednesday into Auyantepui mountain in the Canaima National Park.

Auyantepui is a popular tourist destination. The world's tallest waterfall, Angel Falls, cascades down its sheer rock faces.  Fuentes says a pilot and four passengers were aboard the Bell 206 Long Ranger helicopter. Their nationalities haven't been released.

Fuentes says authorities believe the helicopter may have crashed because of rough weather. He says a team reached the crash site Thursday after it was initially spotted by a plane.

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