An American pilot working for the U.S. government was killed Tuesday when his crop-dusting plane crashed during a coca-eradication mission in remote southeastern Colombia.
It was not immediately known whether the plane, a T-65 Turbo Thrush, was shot down or crashed accidentally. Leftist guerrillas who guard coca plantations in the region frequently fire on crop eradication planes.
The civilian pilot was believed to be the first American killed during an anti-narcotics operation in Colombia.
National police director Gen. Rosso Jose Serrano told reporters he doubted the plane was shot down because it crashed in jungle so thick as to be inaccessible to rebels.
“It’s so dense there that not even guerrillas can enter,” Serrano told a news conference. The pilot’s body was recovered from the crash site, 35 miles southwest of the Guaviare state capital, San Jose de Guaviare, he said.