The Russian-made, turboprop was heading from Managua to the port city of Bluefields 180 miles to the east. Thirteen officers and 15 civilians, described as their families, were on board when the plane went down an hour after take-off.
Nicaraguan army spokesman Captain Milton Sandoval says "It was a routine flight transporting passengers." The aircraft was still in flames when it was found by rescue crews south of Bluefields.
A witness from El Danto, a town 10 miles from the crash site, saw the plane go down, but there is no indication as to what went wrong. "We don't know the cause of the accident," Capt. Sandoval said. Weather in the area was clear at the time of the crash. A military investigation is underway.