- The Washington Times - Monday, August 25, 2003

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (Agence France-Presse) — A domestic airliner crashed shortly after takeoff from the airport in the northern city of Cap-Haitien Sunday, killing all 19 passengers and two crew members on board, police said.

The Czech-made twin-engine turboprop plane, operated by Tropical Airways, crashed into a sugar-cane field in midafternoon and caught fire. Radio reports said the cause of the crash was a door on the aircraft that had not been shut properly and opened after takeoff.

The 19 passengers and one of the pilots were Haitians. Police said the other pilot was from the Dominican Republic, which shares the island of Hispaniola with Haiti.

Television news coverage showed images of the destroyed plane and charred bodies. Police said the dead were so severely burned that it would be difficult or impossible to identify them.

The plane had taken off from Haiti’s second-largest city, 160 miles north of this capital, for Port-de-Paix in the northwest.

Tropical Airways owns several Let 410 UVP-E aircraft, purchased five years ago from Czech manufacturer Let AS. They are inspected and maintained regularly, company officials told Agence France-Presse, and serve the route between Cap Haitien and Port-de-Paix daily.

The Let 410 UVP-E is a twin-engine turboprop plane that flies at an altitude of 14,000 feet. Its maximum capacity is 19 passengers.

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