A private jet “with North American branding” that entered Venezuelan air space illegally has been destroyed by the country’s armed forces, the Minister for Interior Affairs and Justice confirmed.
During a media conference that was shared on social media, Néstor Reverol indicated that the dual-engine plane was a Gulfstream III model and had presumably been used for drug trafficking.
“After entering our territory and being detected by the radars of the Comprehensive Aerospace Defence Command, the provisions of the Control Law for the Comprehensive Defence of the Airspace were complied with, neutralising this plane after ignoring the orders identification and landing,” Mr Reverol said.
It is not yet clear if the plane, which was destroyed near Venezuela’s border with Colombia, was immobilised in the air or on the ground, but national anti-drugs officers found the wreckage of the aircraft on a dirt track in the municipality of Machiques, in the Zulia state.
Mr Reverol was also unable to say what had happened to the plane’s crew or if illicit drugs were found inside the wreckage.
Images released by the Venezuelan Internal Affairs Minister appear to show the aircraft still on fire while on the ground and National Guard officers inspecting the rubble.
– Translated from and reported with CNN Spanish.