French experts join Venezuela plane-crash probe

French specialists joined an investigation into the crash of an airliner that killed 160 in Venezuela, while Colombia grounded the airline that offered the charter flight to holidaymakers from the French Caribbean island of Martinique.

French specialists joined an investigation into the crash of an airliner that killed 160 in Venezuela, while Colombia grounded the airline that offered the charter flight to holidaymakers from the French Caribbean island of Martinique.

The Venezuelan government said yesterday it had halted West Caribbean Airways’ operations while its civil air authority reviewed inspections the small carrier was required to perform.

The Colombian airline’s safety record is being scrutinised after the McDonnell Douglas MD-82 crashed in Venezuela on Tuesday while taking the passengers home to Martinique after a week-long trip to Panama.

Venezuelan investigators were focusing on the possibility of contaminated fuel or some other fuel problem that led both engines to fail simultaneously, said Nelson Serrano, an emergency official in the western state of Zulia.

Teams of French experts travelled to Venezuela to aid in the investigation and help identify victims’ remains, officials said. Authorities in Martinique were to appoint two investigative judges to determine if anyone bears legal blame.

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