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Belgium plane crash kills at least 10 parachutists

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  • The accident happened at 3.45pm, 10 minutes after the plane took off
  • Flight crash landed in field close to the town of Marchovelette
  • The fire brigade confirmed the 11 deaths and are investigating the site

By Peter Allen

PUBLISHED: 10:42 EST, 19 October 2013 | UPDATED: 12:18 EST, 19 October 2013

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Eleven people on board a plane transporting a group of parachutists died today when it crashed into a field in Belgium.

The horrific accident took place at around 3.45pm after the Pliatus light aircraft had taken off from Temploux airfield in the Namur area in the south of the country.

It was in the air for around ten minutes before crashing into the ground six near the town of Marchovelette.

Crash site: A firefighter inspects the wreckage of the plane, which was carrying 11 people

Crash site: A firefighter inspects the wreckage of the plane, which was carrying 11 people

Mangled: The Pilatus plane, which was carrying 10 parachutists and a pilot, had not long taken off when it crashed in Belgium

Mangled: The Pilatus plane, which was carrying 10 parachutists and a pilot, had not long taken off when it crashed in Belgium

At least 10 people are dead after a plane carrying a group of parachutists crashed into a field in Belgium

At least 10 people are dead after a plane carrying a group of parachutists crashed into this field close to the town of Marchovelette in Belgium. The pilot is thought to be among the dead

Crash site: The crash took place near the city of Namur in souther Belgium

Crash site: The crash took place near the city of Namur in souther Belgium

The fire brigade has confirmed that 11 people - 10 parachutists and the pilot - died in the crash. Three parachutes were found at the crash site.

Jean-Claude Nihoul, the mayor of Fernelmont, said there were ‘at least 10 passengers on board and probably one pilot’.

'I've just seen a twin-engined plane lose it's wing mid-flight and crash with a massive bang,' an eyewitness told Belgian broadcaster RTL. 'I didn't see anyone parachute out.'

Mr Nihoul said most of those on board had been due to take part in a parachute jump but ‘crashed around 10 minutes after take off’.

He added that it was 'very difficult' to give any more precise details as the mangled wreckage of the aircraft from 'burned up' and 'unrecognisable'.

He said nobody on the ground had been hurt in the accident. There were no survivors from the plane, a Pilatus Porter transport aircraft, though Mr Nihoul said that parachutes found on the ground near the aircraft showed that three people had tried to jump.

Prime Minister Elio Di Rupo immediately confirmed the news, saying his thoughts were with the families of the victims.

Deaths: It was confirmed that the crash had no survivors

Deaths: It was confirmed that the crash had no survivors

Protection: Firefighters install a screen around the crash site, near the village of Marchovelette

Protection: Firefighters install a screen around the crash site, near the village of Marchovelette

Investigation: Firefighters were at the scene searching the wreckage this afternoon

Investigation: Firefighters were at the scene searching the wreckage this afternoon

Condolences: Belgian president Elio Di Rupo tweeted about the crash. His tweet translates to: 'On the plane accident near Namur: My heartfelt thoughts go first and foremost to the victims, their families and their loved ones.'

Condolences: Belgian president Elio Di Rupo tweeted about the crash. His tweet translates to: 'On the plane accident near Namur: My heartfelt thoughts go first and foremost to the victims, their families and their loved ones.'

He tweeted: 'Plane crash near Namur: my heartfelt thoughts go first and foremost to the victims, their families and their loved ones.'

He was later seen at the site of the crash, and King Philippe of Belgium is also expected to visit the area.

Media reports say the small plane suddenly lost height before crashing in a field. No immediate information on the cause of the crash was available.

Some reports say that the right wing of the plane detached, causing it to nose-dive.

Hundreds of police and firefighters have been scrambled to the scene and are investigating.

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