11 dead after Colombian military plane crashes from lightning strike, local media reports

A Colombian military transport plane crashed in the country's north on Friday, killing all 11 personnel aboard.

The twin-engine CASA-235 reported a motor problem before it disappeared and its wreckage was found on a ranch in the province of César, the air force sad.

Gen. Carlos Bueno, commander of the air force, said an investigation was underway but offered no clues as to what caused to the motor failure.

Local media said the aircraft was struck by a lightning bolt after taking off on an intelligence collection mission from a base hundreds of miles away in Puerto Salgar.

President Juan Manuel Santos sent a Twitter message expressing condolences for the "heroes" who lost their life.

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Among the dead were four air force officers, the highest-ranking of whom was Maj. Adalberto Lombana.

"My heart is heavy with pain for the loss of these heroes who in fulfillment of their constitutional mandate have now flown much higher to join the heavenly squadron alongside the almighty," Bueno said in brief remarks.

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