WASHINGTON – Shortly after a CIA anti-drug team told the Peruvian Air Force about an unidentified plane over the Amazon jungle, the plane's flight pattern made the Americans question whether it was a drug plane, U.S. officials say.
The single-engine Cessna was flying straight, level and at a reasonably high altitude deep into Peru's air space instead of sticking low to the ground and near the border and taking evasive maneuvers, the officials said Wednesday. They spoke on condition of anonymity.
Despite the Americans' expressed uneasiness, and their expectation that the Peruvian fighter would make a concrete identification before attacking, the jet opened fire on the pontoon plane within minutes Friday night. American missionary Veronica ``Roni'' Bowers and her 7-month-old daughter were killed in the attack.
Bowers' husband, Jim, and their 6-year-old son, Cory, survived, as did pilot Kevin Donaldson, who was wounded and has undergone surgery on both legs.