- Associated Press - Thursday, May 19, 2011

BUENOS AIRES (AP) — A turboprop plane carrying 22 people crashed and exploded Wednesday in Argentina’s southern Patagonia region, killing all on board.

Sol Lineas Aereas said its Flight 5248, carrying three crew members and 19 passengers, including a baby, communicated an emergency while flying from Neuquen, near the Andes, to Comodoro Rivadavia, along the coast of Patagonia. The company confirmed that the wreckage was found about 15 miles southwest of the town of Los Menucos and that local firefighers and police found no one alive.

“Unfortunately, there are no survivors. We see burned remains, everything burned,” Ismael Ali, who directs the hospital in the nearest town of Los Menucos, told the Todo Noticias channel.

Sol spokesman Horacio Darre in Buenos Aires said the twin-engine Saab 340 had taken off normally.

“It’s important to clarify that right now there is no information about the cause of the crash, which will be clarified by the relevant authorities,” an airline statement stressed.

Sol said it had received an emergency communication from the plane at 8:50 p.m. local time, nearly halfway into the flight.

The plane crashed and exploded on the rural property of a man who drove into the town of about 4,000 people to alert authorities. Los Menucos Mayor Mabel Yahuar said authorities would make the town’s gymnasium available to support investigators and family members.

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