12 Jul 2013 11:19

BOGOTA, July 10 (BERNAMA-NNN-XINHUA) -- Five people were killed when their helicopter plummeted to the ground in rural Teorama, a town in the northeastern Colombian department (state) of Norte de Santander, an official said Tuesday.

Edgar Diaz, governor of Norte de Santander, told a local radio station the helicopter was carrying company workers travelling to the site to repair a stretch of oil pipeline damaged recently in an act of sabotage allegedly carried out by leftist insurgents.

According to press reports, the helicopter fell at 9:18 am local time (1418 GMT) in the town located some 380 kilometres northeast of Bogota.

All five passengers on board, including the pilot, co-pilot and three employees, died instantly, said Marco Tamayo, commander of the Colombian Army's Vulcano Task Force, which operates in the area and had arrived at the site of the incident.

Gov. Diaz said so far authorities did not know exactly why the crash occurred.

"It seems the helicopter fell after getting tangled up in some electricity cables. Nevertheless, we have also been informed of another version that it seems the helicopter was brought down. We are asking the authorities to let us know what really happened," he said.

Diaz called on the Civil Aviation association to investigate the mishap and determine the cause as soon as possible, and also asked local authorities to help transfer the bodies.