Tue, Jan 03, 2006 - Page 5 News List

Five killed in Australia when airplane hits dam

AFP , IPSWICH, AUSTRALIA

Five people were killed when a plane carrying a group of skydivers plunged into a dam near Brisbane in eastern Australia yesterday, officials said.

Two people survived the crash of the single-engine Cessna 206. A police spokeswoman said one body had been retrieved and a photographer at the scene said divers were recovering four others from the wreckage.

"Our investigator on-site has confirmed there are five dead but four are still in the plane, which is submerged upside down," a police officer said.

The pilot is recovering in hospital, according to national radio, while a 27-year-old woman reportedly suffered internal injuries.

A local resident who was among the first on the scene said he came across the woman walking away from the crash with blood running from her head.

"As I was driving down there was a lady walking across the paddock," he told Australia's ABC radio. "She said that she'd come out of the plane."

The aircraft crashed into the dam shortly after take-off near Ipswich, about 70km east of Brisbane.

"The aircraft seemed to develop trouble trying to gain some height," police spokesman Noel Powers said.

"It clipped a tree and then unfortunately went into the dam," about 2km from the runway, he said.

Civil Aviation Safety Authority spokesman Peter Gibson said it could take weeks to determine the cause of the crash.

"We have no idea of what it might have been at this early stage," he said.

The plane was operated by the Brisbane Skydiving Center, one of the area's parachuting operations.

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