Second crash for plane in fatal Belgian accident
A plane that crashed in Belgium killing its pilot and all 10 skydivers on board including one making her maiden jump for her birthday had crashed before, a report said Sunday.
The aircraft, which crashed Saturday afternoon, was 44 years old and had clocked more than 11,000 hours of flying time, the newspaper La Libre Belgique said.
In 2000 the Swiss-made Pilatus PC-6 Turbo Porter crashed on an aerodrome, injuring the pilot and 10 passengers on board, the paper said.
It was rebuilt in 2002 and sold to the company Namur Air Promotion, which had used it without problems until Saturday.
With no black box, investigators have to analyse debris, collect witness testimonies and look at the maintenance records of the aircraft to try and determine the cause of the crash.
Several witnesses said they saw the plane’s right wing fall off in mid-flight.
One witness, Benoit Pierson, said he rushed to the plane when he saw it go down. “One of the passengers was still alive, smashed up, but alive,” he told local television.
“Other passengers jumped at the last minute. They died in the field,” he added.
Nicolas Hormans, an instructor at the Temploux parachuting club, where most of the victims were from, said the people on board stood little chance of escape.
King Philippe inspected the site of the wreckage early Saturday evening and Belgian Prime Minister Elio di Rupo offered his condolences to the victims’ families.