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Small Plane Carrying Drugs Explodes Over Caribbean Sea

A small plane carrying drugs crashed off the tiny Dutch island of Bonaire, killing a pilot and a passenger, authorities said Wednesday.

Franklin Benito, a duty officer with the Netherlands Antilles Coast Guard, said the single-engine plane caught fire and exploded over the Caribbean Sea late Tuesday.

Shortly after the plane took off from the tiny Dutch island, a witness reported seeing "a ball of fire in the air," Benito said.

Several bales of drugs were found floating amid the wreckage. Little was known about the plane, and authorities did not immediately disclose what type of drugs were found.

The two dead men were not identified, and authorities were searching Wednesday for signs of other victims. The charred body of the pilot was found strapped to his seat.

Bonaire is among the Caribbean islands used as a transit point by drug smugglers from South America. The island of 12,000 people is located about 50 miles (80 kilometers) off the coast of Venezuela.