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Wreckage of Missing Surveillance Plane Found in Angola - 2001-08-03

The wreckage of a missing surveillance plane owned by an American company has been found in Angola. There appear to be no survivors.

The twin engine Cessna 337 had been missing in Angola since July 16 when it disappeared while on a night-time surveillance mission. There were two crewmen on board, both U.S.-trained Angolan contract employees of Airscan, a company which provides airborne security for oil installations in the African country.

An Airscan spokesman told VOA the plane was located some 50 kilometers south of the northwestern oil town of Soyo by another Airscan reconnaissance aircraft. He said initial reports indicated it was a "very bad crash" and that the plane was "broken up." He said sensors aboard the spotter plane detected no signs of life.

The spokesman said Angolan authorities were preparing to travel to the crash site to recover the bodies and to begin an investigation into the cause of the accident.

The spokesman said it is still not known whether the aircraft may have been fired on by rebels of Angola's UNITA movement or whether it suffered a mechanical problem.

Airscan has been operating in Angola since 1993, providing security for the oil industry. The airborne operation is carried out by both Angolans and Americans. The spokesman said Airscan teams have flown over 15,000 hours of missions in Angola.

He said this is the first time any of its planes has ever been lost, either in Angola or elsewhere.

Airscan conducts missions for various clients in the United States, South America and Africa. It has recently conducted surveillance operations for the U.S. military in the Balkans.