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Three Presumed Dead in El Yunque Crash

Dec. 3, 2008 — A well-known local pilot and two tourists are presumed dead after the twin-engine turbo-prop aircraft owned by Ken Webster of St. Croix crashed Wednesday afternoon into the side of a mountain in El Yunque rain forest in Puerto Rico.
As of 6 p.m., a rescue team was trying to get to the site of the crash, but the conditions in the rain forest and darkness hampered the efforts, one San Juan official said.
"They know where the crash area is and they are trying to get there," said Inspector Jose Bolonco of the Puerto Rico Port Authority. "But it’s not easy. Maybe tomorrow."
A helicopter sent to the area zeroed in on the site, but no one had been able to reach it, Bolonco said. People in the vicinity saw the Aero Commander flying low and then saw an explosion, he said.
Webster was flying the two people on board from Tortola’s Beef Island Airport to San Juan. He left Beef Island at 11:26 a.m., according to a story in El Nuevo Dia.
The aircraft apparently suffered mechanical problems that caused it to collide with a mountain peak, coming to rest on a cliff, according to the report in El Nuevo Dia. Officials do not expect there will be survivors.
One local member of the aviation community, who asked not to be identified, said Webster was an excellent pilot with vast experience and meticulous habits.
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