/ 31 May 2008

Skydivers jump free of crashing plane

Nine skydivers jumped free of their plane before it crashed to earth in Spain, killing the pilot and another of their companions, local authorities said on Saturday.

Four of the surviving parachutists were hurt in the fall, two of them seriously, a spokesperson for the regional government of Toledo said.

She said the cause of the accident was not yet known and that the crash was being investigated.

The plane, a Swiss-built Pilatus PC-6, crashed on Friday afternoon near an airfield in the Lillo area of central Spain.

Spanish media, citing rescuers, said the parachutists jumped free after the single-engined plane lost a wing and went into a spin, bursting into flames when it hit the ground.

The daily ABC said the team, described as highly experienced, had been making an advertisement for Britain’s Channel 4 television station on Thursday over Madrid.

The reports said the parachutist who died was a Brazilian, aged 36, and the 38-year-old pilot was Spanish. The other skydivers were of various nationalities. — AFP