Five die as holiday flight crashes into factory

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The Independent Online

At least five people were killed when their light aircraft crashed into a Hampshire industrial estate moments after take-off yesterday.

At least five people were killed when their light aircraft crashed into a Hampshire industrial estate moments after take-off yesterday.

All on board the private plane, which was taking the party to a Christmas holiday in Palma, Majorca, are thought to have died instantly. They included the pilot, his daughter, his son and two family friends.

The Beech 200 Super King Air plane had just left Blackbushe Airport in Hampshire when it caught fire and crashed into a rubber factory on an industrial estate a quarter of a mile away, setting the building ablaze.

More than 60 firefighters battled to reach those on the plane. Residents in the streets near the Linotec building in the Blackbushe Business Park had to be evacuated from their homes to escape toxic smoke from the burning fuel. The cause of the accident is not yet known although there is speculation that fuel may have been leaking or was being dumped from the plane before it crashed.

According to witnesses, the plane crashed straight through the doors of the factory after skimming the roofs of two other buildings and narrowly missing a crane.

No one is believed to have been in the factory at the time of the crash. Steve Haire, an ambulance incident officer who was at the scene of the accident, said the chance of anyone surviving was remote. "The plane has gone straight through the front of the aluminium building and continued for about 80 feet inside. It set the building ablaze. There was a very large explosion because of all the aviation fuel aboard."

Despite the intensity of the blaze, fire fighters using breathing apparatus went into the building and searched through the wreckage.

Hampshire police said emergency services were aware who was in the plane, but their identities would not be released until next of kin were contacted.

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