Airman Killed in Airplane Crash in Colombia

MSgt. Martin Gonzales, 39, died in the crash of a US-contracted DH-8 aircraft in Colombia, announced US Southern Command on Wednesday. The aircraft was monitoring for drug smugglers near the Panamanian border on Oct. 5 when it went down, reported the Miami Herald. The cause of the crash is under investigation; there is no evidence that someone shot down the airplane, according to the newspaper. Gonzales, who was reportedly an interpreter on the mission, was one of six persons aboard the airplane, only two of whom survived the crash. Two unnamed American defense contractors and Panamanian National Air-Naval Service Lt. Elroy Nunez also died. Colombian military forces rescued two other US contractors from the crash site and brought them to a hospital in Bogota where they were in stable condition after surgery, said SOUTHCOM. “Our hearts remain with the families of the men who lost their lives in this tragic crash,” said Marine Corps Gen. John Kelly, SOUTHCOM commander. “It is a terrible tragedy, but we remain committed to finding out what happened and hopefully bring some sort of peace to the families,” he said.