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Senator among 8 killed in plane crashes

01:53 Mon Apr 23 2012

Eight people, including opposition senator Gerald Ortiz, were killed in two plane crashes in Bolivia, officials said.

The senator died along with his father, Luis Ortiz, who was flying the plane, and mechanic Mario Torres when their aircraft went down near Viru Viru international airport in the eastern city of Santa Cruz, Senate President Gabriela Montano said.

The senator, who was a professional pilot, was chairman of the Senate International Relations Committee.

The senator's son, Alex Ortiz, survived the crash, Montano said.

Search teams, meanwhile, found the bodies on Saturday of five people who died when a small plane crashed in southeastern Bolivia, the air force said.

Military search teams recovered the bodies of pilot Edgar Antelo, co-pilot Daniel Jordan and passengers Oscar Holguin, Javier Flores and Wilson Pilco, the commander of the 3rd Air Brigade in Santa Cruz, General Leopoldo Molina, told EFE.

The victims were employed by a construction company and died while conducting an aerial inspection of a highway, the general said.

Bad weather may prevent air force helicopters from transporting the bodies to Santa Cruz until Sunday, Molina said.