SARABENA, Colombia -- Nine people, including two American employees of a U.S. drilling company, were killed Thursday in the crash of a small plane close to the Venezuelan-Colombian border.
Authorities said the commuter plane, which left Bogota at 7 a.m, crashed shortly after 9 a.m. about 4 miles from the Sarabena Airport, located just across the border from Venezuela.
The two Americans were identified as Raymond Strong and Ralph Cooley, both of Houston, and employees of Parker Drilling Co. of Tulsa, Okla. Parker also has operations in Texas, Alaska and several foreign countries.
Strong was superintendent of Parker's Colombian operations. The company is drilling at four sites in northeast Colombia in a joint venture with Ecopetrol, a Colombian oil company.
Authorities said the Inter-Andes commuter airplane developed mechanical problems as it approached the Sarbena Airport, in the state of Arauca.