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The Latest: Water-dropping Plane Crash Reported in Portugal

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Tuesday, 20 Jun 2017 01:38 PM

LISBON, Portugal (AP) — The Latest on the fatal wildfires in Portugal (all times local):

6:20 p.m.

An official with Portugal's Air Accident Office says a Canadair water-dropping plane has crashed in central Portugal while fighting wildfires that killed 64 people.

Maria Jose Andre told The Associated Press that the Civil Protection Agency, which is overseeing firefighting operations, informed her office Tuesday afternoon that the plane had crashed.

She says her office immediately sent a crash investigation team to the area but that she had no details about the plane, its crew or where the crash happened.

Officials with the Portuguese government and the Civil Protection Agency said they could not confirm the crash.

Portugal's secretary of state for the interior, Jorge Gomes, said: "We are investigating if (the reports) are true."

Civil Protection Agency spokesman Fausto Coutinho says authorities had received reports of a plane crash near where wildfires are raging and dispatched a helicopter to check.

9:30 a.m.

Firefighters in Portugal say they are close to bringing under control a major wildfire that killed 64 people in the central area of the country.

More than 1,000 firefighters and nine water-dropping aircraft are battling the blaze in Pedrogao Grande, which is raging for a third consecutive day.

The Civil Protection Agency says it hopes to contain the flames Tuesday, though temperatures forecast to reach 43 degrees Celsius (109 Fahrenheit) and gusting winds remain a threat.

The death toll was raised from 63 to 64 late Monday.

Government officials say Prime Minister Antonio Costa has ordered an investigation into what happened on Saturday night, when the deaths occurred.

© Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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The Latest on the fatal wildfires in Portugal (all times local):6:20 p.m.An official with Portugal's Air Accident Office says a Canadair water-dropping plane has crashed in central Portugal while fighting wildfires that killed 64 people.Maria Jose Andre told The Associated...
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