QCOSTARICA – Two men, alleging to be the pilot and co-pilot of the airplane found abandoned in Nicaragua with 89 kilograms of cocaine, were found alive, but, handcuffed walking on the side of the road, the Ruta 32 (San Jose – Guapiles), near the Zurqui tunnel.
The press office of the Ministry of Security (Ministerio de Seguridad) said the two men claim to have been victims of a kidnapping.
Authorities got the call around 2:00am Friday.
The men said they were kidnapped ad taken by car to the Zurqui (an area famous in Costa Rica to disappear people). The men, identified as Daniel Campos Barrantes (36) and Jorge Enrique Arias Vargas (32) were dehydrated and told authorities had not eating for 2 days. They are recovering at the Hospital San Vicente de Paul de Heredia.
The abandoned aircraft with the call letters TI-ATR registered in Costa Rica was found Wednesday morning by Nicaraguan authorities in the area of Puerto Morzana in Chinandega, a town near the Honduras border. (TI – Tango India – TI-AAA to TI-ZZZ TI-000 to TI-999 for ultralight aircraft is the aircraft registration for Costa Rica, part of a unique alphanumeric string that identifies a civil aircraft, in similar fashion to a licence plate on an automobile.
Nicaraguan police found inside the aircraft three suitcases containing 89 kg of cocaine. The airplane had been spotted by locals who told authorities they saw the crew flee the scene.
According to the flight plan with the Costa Rica’s Civil Aviation (DGAC), the airplane left the Tobias Bolaños airport in Pavas (San Jose), headed for Punta Islita, Guanacaste.
The flight plan included travel to Tamarindo, Guanacaste, a flight never made. Instead the aircraft apparently crashed in Nicaragua. Details of the incident are still sketchy, as Nicaraguan authorities investigate.