Eight killed in plane crash near estate

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The Independent Online
AN INVESTIGATION was launched after a light aircraft crashed on take-off, killing eight people and injuring three.

The Cessna 402 Titan came down moments after leaving from Glasgow airport en route to Aberdeen, bursting into flames as it fell into a field three miles from the airfield and near a motorway and a housing estate. The fuselage of the twin-engine aircraft broke into three pieces on impact.

"I could hear one of the engines splutter and then I just heard it cut out and stop," said John Connell, from Middleton Farm, near the site, who was one of the first on the scene. "I could see the plane dipping to the right and then it dipped right down and crashed. I could see someone crawling about outside and I thought if there was one, then I could probably get another couple, so I pulled out another two or three - their clothes were still alight."

Last night two investigators from the Air Accident Investigation Branch arrived in Scotland to begin inquiries, as it emerged one of the aircraft's propellers may have failed. The weather was fine when the aircraft crashed shortly after 12.30pm, though officials pointed out this was the second fatal Cessna crash this week. On Wednesday 12 people died when a Cessna 404 crashed in Tanzania.

The aircraft that crashed yesterday was carrying nine passengers - pilots and cabin crew from the holiday airline Airtours International who were being moved in preparation to staff a Boeing 757 flight. Both of the Cessna pilots are thought to have been killed.

The survivors were taken to hospital by air ambulance. Two were taken to Glasgow's Southern General Hospital, while the other was taken to Royal Alexandra Hospital in Paisley. A Royal Alexandra spokeswoman said its patient was "stable", though the two taken to Glasgow - both male - were in a serious condition.

Damian Kershaw, a member of an emergency response scene and one of the first at the scene, said: "By the time I arrived, the three survivors had already been airlifted from the wreckage but the bodies of the victims were still there. The bodies were ... all badly burnt and it was clear that nothing could be done for them."

A spokesman for the Department of Transport said the two investigators would complete a report that would also be considered by the Civil Aviation Authority.

Strathclyde police have set up a casualty bureau for people who believe friends or relatives may have been involved in the incident. The number is 0141-204 0011