(posted Nov. 15, 6:10 p.m.)- Nicaraguan authorities are investigating a mysterious plane crash this morning that killed two of three passengers aboard.
Pilot Wilberto Martínez, a retired Nicaraguan Air Force captain, and Nicaraguan Police officer Luis Irías Méndez, are thought to have died on impact when their single-engine Cessna 206 crashed into an uninhabited lake island known as Perron, one of the 20 islets that comprise the little-known archipelago of El Nancital, off the coast of Chontales.
The third passenger, copilot Audi Wilson, survived the crash and was rescued on the island by the military, according to Army spokesman Colonel Orlando Palacios.
“At 10:10 a.m. the plane issued a distress call. When the plane crashed a beacon was activated and minutes later the search began. By 11:30 a.m. the copilot was rescued by helicopter off an islet located 1 kilometer from the coast of Chontales,” Palacios told The Nicaragua Dispatch.
The army spokesman said the cause of the crash is still unclear. He said the copilot will be questioned and the black box recordings reviewed to determine what went wrong. He said the Army’s 5th Command unit has the remote area of the crash closed off.
What is known is that the civilian plane belonged to the state-owned Airport Administration Business of Nicaragua. It departed the Greytown Airport shortly after 9 a.m. this morning en route to Managua. After the plane crossed the jungle it ran into unknown trouble as it reached the eastern edge of Lake Cocibolca, also known as Lake Nicaragua.
Palacios said it was a “routine flight,” and that the airport authorities regularly fly to the various airports they administer to inspect conditions.