19 die as Tunisian plane crashes near Sicily due to engine trouble
A Tunisian passenger plane carrying 39 people crash-landed in the Mediterranean Sea off Sicily on Saturday while trying to make an emergency landing because of engine trouble. At least 19 people died, officials said.
Palermo Prosecutor Piero Grasso told The Associated Press that 20 people survived and were being taken off rescue boats on stretchers at Palermo's port. He added the plane was forced to make a water landing about eight miles off Sicily because of a "technical problem" that was being investigated. "We can rule out terrorism," Grasso stressed.
The plane left Bari, Italy, on its way to Djerba, Tunisia. It was operated by Tuninter, an affiliate of Tunisair, the national airline of Tunisia.
The plane contacted the Rome airport tower officials at 3:24 p.m. to report engine trouble and said it would have to land at Palermo's airport. Sixteen minutes later, the plane's crew told tower officials: "We're ditching in the sea."