Plane crashes in Venezuela, 14 confirmed dead

(CNN) — Fourteen people were confirmed dead but others survived when an airplane carrying at least 47 passengers and crew members crashed Monday morning in southeastern Venezuela, government and hospital officials said.

Twenty-three people were taken to hospitals in the city of Guayana, said Bolivar state Gov. Francisco Rangel Gomez.

Of those, two died, said Yanitza Rodriguez, director of the Hospital Uyapar. The other 21 people were being treated, she said.

Rangel Gomez told the state-run VTV network Monday afternoon that at least 14 people had died. Another 33 were being treated at local hospitals, he said. Four people were missing.

The aircraft belongs to the government-owned Conviasa airline and crashed in Bolivar state, said civil protection official Jose Zamora of the Sidor municipality.

The plane crashed 12 minutes after takeoff about 6 miles (10 km) from the airport in Guayana, Rangel Gomez said. Aerial photographs show that it crashed in an industrial storage yard.

Best Western hotel clerk Ivan Maradey said he witnessed the crash and saw the plane tumble into some power lines before hitting the ground and exploding.

There were conflicting reports over how many people were aboard.

Francisco Garces, the Venezuelan minister of transportation and communication, initially said that there were 43 passengers and four crew members.

Rangel Gomez, the Bolivar state governor, said later there were 51 people on board: 47 passengers and four crew members.

The aircraft was an ATR42, a twin-turboprop, short-haul airplane built in France and Italy, Rangel Gomez said. Conviasa Flight 2350 was en route from Isla Margarita to Guayana when it crashed, the governor said.

The cause of the crash had not been determined and remained under investigation, Rangel Gomez said. He identified the pilot as Ramiro Cardenas.

The officials made their comments on the CNN-affiliated Globovision TV station.