"The plane arriving from Bogota landed in the middle of an intense electrical storm," he said.

'Incredible'

The island's airport was closed to allow the investigation to proceed.

The wounded passengers were taken to a hospital, including four people who suffered major injuries.

Dr Robert Sanchez, the hospital director, said "It's incredible. For the dimension [of the accident], there should be more.''

The state government said in an email that passengers on board the Aires
plane, which left Bogota about midnight, included eight US citizens and four
Brazilians. They were not identified.

Passengers said the pilot had announced an impending landing and everything seemed normal as the plane descended through rain. But suddenly it hit short and then slid onto the runway on its belly as the fuselage fractured.