Three people died when a helicopter crashed in a mountainous area in southeastern Guatemala, the General Civil Aviation Directorate, or DGAC, reported Tuesday.

The aircraft vanished from radar screens late Monday evening about 11 miles from this capital's La Aurora international airport, Mario Chang, the head of the Aviation Operations Center, told a radio station on Tuesday.

The helicopter plunged to earth in a mountainous region between the municipalities of Fraijanes and Villa Canales.

The pilot was identified as former army officer Ramon Rodriguez, and his passengers were Luis Paiz and Andre Berger, both civilians.

The cause of the crash is not yet known and Chang said only that the wreckage of the chopper had been located.

The DGAC official in charge of accident investigations, Victor Celada, told Efe that a team from his agency is heading to the crash site. EFE