CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) -- At least 16 people were killed when a Venezuelan military plane crashed in a mountainous area near Caracas on Friday, officials said.
Rescuers hurried to the spot near the town of El Junquito but found no survivors in the wreckage on a steep slope, said Juan Carlos Rodriguez, a commanding firefighter.
There are houses not far from the spot where the plane went down, and some witnesses said they believed there was an explosion before the National Guard plane crashed, Rodriguez said.
Officials believe there may have been one high-ranking military officer among the passengers, Rodriguez said. It was unclear how many were military personnel and how many may have been civilians.
The plane crash occurred about 25 kilometers (15 miles) northwest of Caracas, officials said. It was partly cloudy in the Caracas area at the time.
Officials said they had yet to confirm the exact number of passengers on the plane, though they believed it was at least 16.
They said the plane had been on its way from Puerto Ayacucho, about 520 kilometers (320 miles) south of Caracas, to a military air base just east of the capital.