CARACAS – Venezuela and Colombia are at odds over the events leading up to a small plane, loaded with 1.2 tonnes tonne of cocaine, crashing into the Caribbean Sea on Wednesday as it was being intercepted.
Both are taking responsibility for the operation that foiled the drug smuggling attempt.
The unidentified pilot, whose body was recovered from the wreckage along with the drugs packaged in one-kilogramme parcels, was travelling with a Mexican passport.
Soon after the plane crash, the Colombian air force said the Hawker 800 aircraft had taken off from Venezuela and was headed to Central America.
It blamed the crash that occurred in waters off the Colombian coast on a motor failing when the pilot tried to evade the military planes that had ordered it to land.
However, Venezuela’s defense minister Vladimir Padrino said on Wednesday night that the plane had originated in Central America and had landed in a remote part of Venezuela for a few hours.
“We know that plane came from Central America,” he said.
Padrino said his country’s military shot at the plane when it took off again and then alerted their Colombian counterparts.