Eleven people have died in a plane crash in southern Belgium. The aircraft, which came down shortly after takeoff, had been carrying a group of parachutists – none of whom survived.
Firefighters who arrived at the scene, about 10 kilometers (6 miles) from the city of Namur, said that nobody had survived the incident.
“The plane took off from Temploux aerodrome with 10 parachutists and probably a pilot on board and crashed around 10 minutes later in a field,”said the mayor of the nearby town of Fernelmont, Jean-Claude Nihoul. “All those on board are unfortunately dead. The toll is 10 or 11 victims.”
The parachutists, all believed to have been Belgian, were members of a local skydiving club.
Nihoul added it was “very difficult” to be more certain about the details because of the state of the aircraft which was “unrecognizable” after being “burned up.”
Authorities later confirmed that 11 people had been killed. Belgian Prime Minister Elio Di Rupo visited the crash scene, with a visit by King Philippe scheduled afterwards.
Di Rupo said he had “learned with sadness of the tragic plane accident near Namur.”
Media reported that the plane had suddenly lost height before it crashed in the field. Although no official information about the cause of the crash was made immediately available, one witness reported seeing the plane lose its wing shortly before the accident.
rc/mkg (AFP, AP, dpa)