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Parachute flight turns fatal in Poland

A parachutist club plane has crashed in southern Poland during takeoff. Eleven occupants are feared dead. Only one person survived, according to an emergency services spokeswoman.

Eleven people were feared dead during a parachute club outing in southern Poland on Saturday. A local resident said the light aircraft was making "strange sounds" before crashing close to houses.

The plane, a Piper Navajo, was taking off from an airfield at Rudniki, near the city of Czestochowa, 210 kilometers (130 miles) southwest of Warsaw.

Emergency services spokeswoman Justyna Sochacka said 12 people were on board the plane. The only survivor was in "serious condition" in hospital, she said.

TVN24 television showed the burnt out wreckage of the aircraft.

String of fatal skydiver takeoffs

Since 2010 there have been at least four fatal accidents involving parachutists while being taken aloft to their drop off zones.

In 2010, nine people were killed in New Zealand near the Fox Glacier tourist spot when their skydiving plane crashed shortly after takeoff.

In October last year, 11 parachutists and their pilot died when their plane caught fire and lost a wing near

Namur in Belgium

shortly after taking off.

Last March, a pilot and four skydivers were killed in eastern Australia during takeoff from an airstrip at Caboolture near Brisbane.

Last April, eight skydivers were killed in Finland, when their aircraft disintegrated in flight. Two other parachutists and the pilot managed to jump to safety, with minor injuries.

ipj/slk (AFP, Reuters)

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