Army plane crashes in eastern Ecuador, killing 22 soldiers

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An army plane carrying 22 service members has crashed near the town of Shell Mera in a mountainous area of eastern Ecuador, killing everyone on board, the country’s president says.

The accident happened on Tuesday afternoon when the army aircraft was on a training mission in Pastaza Province, but details about the type of aircraft involved were not immediately disclosed. A total of 22 people were on board.

“With sadness I inform you that a military plane conducting military exercises has crashed near Shell with casualties. I am headed to the scene now,” defense minister Ricardo Patiño said. He provided no information about the circumstances of the accident.

President Rafael Correa said on his official Twitter account that a total of 22 soldiers were on board the aircraft, and that none had survived the crash. “22 soldiers have left us. A strong hug in solidarity go out to the families and our armed forces,” he said. “It is a tragedy.”

Other details were not immediately available.

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