Ten people have been reported dead when a small chartered airplane with Argentine plates crashed Thursday night after taking off at the Laguna del Sauce airport, near the Uruguayan resort of Punta del Este. Rescue teams and fire personnel confirmed at least seven charred bodies.
The aircraft, a Beechcraft C 90 model Air King that was registered in Argentina under the ID LV-CEO and belonging to Aviajet, carried 10 people on board: eight passengers and two pilots (eight men and two women).
According to Uruguayan officials the accident happened at 20:37, a few minutes after takeoff and in an area to the north of a lagoon of difficult access which had to be reached with Zodiac rafts. A helicopter with spot lights was helping the emergency teams.
Rescuers working at the scene reported the aircraft crashed head on in shallow water to the north of the lagoon. Judge Adriana Morosoni also present during rescue operations declared the area out of limits and said bodies would be rescued early morning Friday.
Witnesses at the airport said that a few minutes after takeoff they heard a significant explosion followed by a huge fireball.
The passengers were members of the Argentine company La Rural which is an associate in a project to exploit a Convention Center under construction in the Atlantic resort of Punta del Este and had flown to Uruguay for a business conference with their Uruguayan partners and the local government.
La Rural is a leading company in Argentina and Latin America in the fairs, congress and events industry.