Originally published on October 20, 2013
Eleven people died on Saturday when a small private plane crashed near the city of Namur in south-east Belgium, according to a Reuters report.
It was carrying members of a local skydiving club planning to celebrate a birthday and crashed shortly after taking off from a small airfield, killing everyone aboard.
Several witnesses said they saw the aircraft's right wing detach mid-flight.
"According to witnesses, a part of the plane broke off, it nosedived and crashed into the ground like a stone," Jean-Claude Nihoul, the mayor of the nearby town of Fernelmont told Reuters.
The plane was flying at about 10,000 feet before it was sent into spiraling downward.
"It seems that one of the wings became detached shortly before the crash and that completely destabilized the plane. Now, the experts are at the scene. The investigating judge and the prosecutor's office are leading a judicial inquiry," said Joelle Milquet, Belgium's interior minister according to Reuters.
The nosedive is believed to have thrown those aboard around with such force they were unable to escape the plane before it crashed in a wheat field and caught fire.
Rescuers found open parachutes at the crash site, indicating three people aboard had made attempts to escape the falling aircraft.
The exact cause of the accident is currently being investigated.
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