LISBON, Portugal -- Angola said Monday an American pilot was flying his single-engine Beechcraft-Bonanza off course on his way to a plane dealer in South Africa when Soviet-built Angolan jets shot it down.
The official Angolan news agency, ANGOP, identified the pilot as Joseph Frank Long of Greensburg, Pa., but did not say if he was injured in the incident a week ago.
'The plane was flying outside international routes and had violated Angola airspace,' ANGOP said in a four-paragraph dispatch to Lisbon.
The agency said Long claimed he had been flying the plane from the U.S. Fisk Pilot International Co. to a 'Beechcraft fixed base operator' dealer in South Africa. It gave no indication of what Angola intended to do with Long.
ANGOP earlier had charged Long was on a reconnaissance spying mission for South Africa and the U.S. and South African-backed UNITA guerrillas, who also operate in the area.
The first ANGOP reports released Friday said the pilot was 'in good health' and the wreckage was being searched for 'military espionage equipment.'
The Angolan airforce is equipped with Soviet-supplied MiG jet fighters.
The single-engine Beechcraft-Bonanza was downed by jet fighters over the southern Angolan village of Canhime, 44 miles south of the town of Cahama and 220 miles inland from the country's Atlantic Coast, ANGOP said.
The war-torn area borders South African-administered Namibia, also known as South West Africa, which has been attacked frequently by South African forces.
Angola's southern provinces along the Namibian border have long been the scene of heavy fighting between the Cuban-backed Angolan army and South African raiders and UNITA insurgent forces.
The UNITA rebels have fought the government and its estimated 35,000 Cuban troops since the oil-producing nation of 8 million famine-plagued people gained independence from Portugal in 1975.