A plane carrying 14 people, including eight Italians and one Swiss passenger, crashed into the sea close to a group of Venezuelan islands on 04 January 2008.
The pilot reported that both engines failed just before contact was lost with the Czech-made 19-seat LET L-410. At that moment the plane flew on 3000 feet (914 meters) high.
The plane was flying to the Los Roques archipelago from Caracas but reported engine trouble and never arrived at its destination, an air rescue worker said. Civil protection said the plane, operated by Venezuela-based airline Transaven, fell into the sea about 24 miles from Los Roques on Friday morning. Air rescue and civil protection officials are still searching for the twin-engine aircraft. Rain and strong waves have “made the search for the plane more difficult,” General Antonio Rivero, who heads Venezuela’s civil protection agency, said.
A spokesman at the Italian Foreign Ministry said eight of the people on board the plane were Italians. He gave no further details.
Los Roques is a group of 350 islands in the Caribbean North from Venezuela. It’s a beutiful, exotic tourist paradise with white sand and multicolor water bays. There are 3 airlines carrying passengers to the islands, Transaven is one of them. Their website says it is under construction, so there is now way to learn more about their fleet or safety standards. Apparently the old LET-410s is the only plane they have. I wrote an email to them with questions, I hope they will answer.
Development of the L-410 was started in the 1960s by the Czechoslovakian aircraft manufacturer Let Kunovice. The Soviet airline “Aeroflot” was looking for a turbine-powered replacement for the Antonov An-2 aircraft, initiating the design development by Let. After preliminary studies of an aircraft called the L-400, a new version was introduced called the L-410 Turbolet. The first prototype, designated XL-410, flew on April 16, 1969.
The problem with such airlines is that they are the only ones flying to such tourist places and even though they have basically no maintenance or safety standard, one must take the risk to get there. My recommendation is that if you are about to get to Los Roques any way, rather fly to the ABC islands (Aruba, Bonaire or Curacao) by KLM and from there you can easily get to Los Roques by motor boats or any way on water.
Although chances are low, let’s hope they are still alive.