Airman killed conducting operations in Colombia

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United States Southern Command officials today confirmed the identity of an Airman killed in a plane crash Saturday in Colombia. 

Master Sgt. Martin Gonzales, 39, two American defense contractors and Panamanian National Air-Naval Service Lt. Elroy Nunez were killed in a U.S.-contracted DH-8 aircraft crash while conducting detection and monitoring operations near the Panamanian border in support of Operation Martillo. 

Colombian military forces rescued two U.S. contractors from the crash site and evacuated them to a hospital in Bogota.  The two survivors are in stable condition after surgery.

“Our hearts remain with the families of the men who lost their lives in this tragic crash,” said Gen. John Kelly, the SOUTHCOM commander. “It is a terrible tragedy, but we remain committed to finding out what happened and hopefully bring some sort of peace to the families.”

The cause of the crash is under investigation.