A small plane crashed into a construction site in a densely populated part of India’s financial capital Mumbai on Thursday, killing five people including one on the ground, officials said.
There were four people on the 12-seater aircraft, disaster management officials said, with witnesses reporting hearing a loud blast as it smashed into a half-built structure.
“There was a huge explosion and the adjacent tree caught fire and the fire spilled on the streets,” a man was quoted as saying on the NDTV news channel.
“Initially we assumed an electric box in the under-construction building must have caught fire but when we checked out the spot, we found the charred body of a man who apparently was on bike when the plane crashed,” he added.
A woman, who was also not named, reported hearing three loud explosions and described seeing a “major fire”.
Video footage posted online showed bright orange flames licking the side of a building next to a construction site.
The white tailfin seemed to be the only recognisable part of the aircraft not consumed in the blaze.
India’s Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) said the plane was a turbo-prop King Air C-90 and had been on a test flight from the nearby Juhu airstrip.
“There were two pilots and two aircraft maintenance engineers on board. All on board (the) aircraft along with one person on ground are dead,” the DGCA statement read.
– ‘Completely charred’ –
A medical officer at Rajawadi hospital, where the victims were taken, said the dead included three men and two women.
“There bodies were completely charred due to the fire,” she told AFP, adding that two injured had also been admitted and were in a stable condition.
It was not raining at the time of the accident and weather did not appear to have been a factor in the crash.
DGCA said it was sending a team to investigate the cause, adding that the aircraft was owned by a private operator who had purchased it from the Uttar Pradesh state government.
There were four people on the 12-seater aircraft, disaster management officials said, with witnesses reporting hearing a loud blast as it smashed into a half-built structure
P Rahangdale, Mumbai’s chief fire officer, said several fire engines had rushed to the spot.
India’s National Disaster Response Force said it was also sending a team to make sure no there were no injured trapped under any rubble at the crash site.
Former Indian Aviation Minister Praful Patel tweeted his condolences and praised the pilot for the guiding the plane into an open area.
“Salute to the pilot who showed presence of mind to avoid a big mishap, saving many lives at the cost of her own life,” he wrote.
There have been several crashes involving small planes in India in recent years.