Pilot dies as zeppelin crashes in Germany

13th June 2011, Comments 0 comments

The pilot of a zeppelin was killed and three passengers had to leap to safety when the aircraft caught fire and crashed in central Germany Sunday evening, a police spokesman said.

The accident happened at the Reichelsheim aerodrome, near Friedberg in central Germany as the aircraft was coming in to land.

Two metres (yards) from the ground the pilot told his three passengers, all journalists, to jump to the ground while he tried to land safely, said a report on the Bild website, one of whose photographers had been on board.

Once the three journalists left the zeppelin, it climbed back up to 40 metres but then caught fire for reasons not yet clear, said police.

Witnesses reported hearing a loud noise from the engine and smelling petrol fumes.

The journalists who escaped were the photographer from Germany's Bild magazine and two from RTL television.

The zeppelin had been making a promotional flight to mark a local festival.

© 2011 AFP

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