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Last Updated: Saturday, 5 January 2008, 05:04 GMT
Plane crashes off Venezuela coast
Rescue workers in Venezuela are searching for the wreckage of a plane carrying at least 14 people which crashed off the coast on Friday.

Officials said the plane had left an airport near Caracas and then plunged into the sea near the Los Roques islands - a popular tourist spot.

They said the pilot had reported engine problems just before contact was lost.

Eight Italians and a Swiss citizen were among the passengers. There was no immediate report on casualties.

The plane - the twin-engine Czech-made LET L-410 - crashed about 39km (24 miles) from Los Roques, officials said.

They said rescuers in speed boats and helicopters were still searching for the aircraft - nearly 10 hours after it went down.

Italy's foreign ministry said eight Italians were on board.

Venezuela's civil protection agency said that one of the passengers on board was Swiss, after having earlier identified that passenger as American.

Five Venezuelan nationals are also believed to have been on board.

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