32 die in army band plane crash
Tuesday 16 July 1996
The aircraft, a 26-year-old C-130 Hercules carrying members of a Dutch military brass band from a performance at Villafranca in Italy, banked steeply as it came in to land and plunged into a field in the airstrip's military section. Forty or 41 people were on board. All four Belgian crew were among the dead.
Emergency services brought the fire under control within 50 minutes. A makeshift mortuary was set up at the airbase, while the injured, suffering from second and third-degree burns, were ferried to nearby hospitals and specialist burns units by ambulance and helicopter.
Lieutenant-General Droste, commanding officer of the Royal Dutch Air Force, said: "After, or during, the landing something went wrong - dramatically wrong.
"Traffic control saw it happen but report no warning from the cockpit," he said, adding that the plane has appeared to be functioning normally until it attempted to land.
Lieutenant Droste said a team of Dutch and Belgian experts had been set up to investigate the cause of the crash.
Eyewitnesses said the plane appeared to abort a landing and careered into a field.
"The plane wanted to land and then took off again and flipped over with its wing clipping the grass and then there was a big flame," one boy at the scene told Dutch television.
"It was making weird manoeuvres. At the start of the runway it came down and rolled over. The tail came off and the left wing was also badly damaged," another eyewitness said.
The Belgian Defence Minister, Jean-Pol Poncelet, told Belgian radio that it was the first crash by a Belgian military Hercules for 25 years, adding that the plane, one of 12 operated by the military, had been undergoing modernisation.
The accident was the worst air disaster in the Netherlands since an El Al Jumbo Jet crashed into a block of flats in Amsterdam in 1992.
That crash claimed at least 43 lives, but a definitive total has never been established by investigators.
A Dutch government spokesman said Queen Beatrix was dismayed at the tragedy and expressed her sympathy for the relatives of the dead and injured.
The Dutch Prime Minister, Wim Kok, interrupted his holiday to travel to the crash scene.
That's some guestlist! Stunning images show huge dynastic wedding between Ultra-Orthodox Jewish families which attracted 25,000 guests
Exclusive: Woolwich attack suspect attended meetings of banned Islamist group - and were known by security services
'Sickening, deluded and unforgivable': Horrific attack brings terror to London’s streets
World news in pictures
Ingrid Loyau-Kennett, the mother-of-two hailed as a hero for confronting Woolwich attackers, thought: 'better me than a child'
- 1 Exclusive: Woolwich attack suspect attended meetings of banned Islamist group - and were known by security services
- 2 'Sickening, deluded and unforgivable': Horrific attack brings terror to London’s streets
- 3 Grace Dent: I’m not sure how these people can avoid being called ‘bigots’. And the more ‘civilised’, the worse they are
- 4 Woolwich murder: They killed, then they performed - these men should be starved of our attention
- 5 Woolwich attack: The EDL will seek to exploit this evil crime for their own evil ends
BMF is the UK’s biggest and best loved outdoor fitness classes
Find out what The Independent's resident travel expert has to say about one of the most beautiful small cities in the world
Nook is donating eReaders to volunteers at high-need schools and participating in exclusive events throughout the campaign.
Get the latest on The Evening Standard's campaign to get London's children reading.
Win anything from gadgets to five-star holidays on our competitions and offers page.