Police in Sweden say all nine people aboard a plane died after it crashed into an island south of an airport on the island of Storsandskar
Witnesses watched in horror as the aircraft plummeted into the island outside the northern city of Umea, on Sweden’s eastern coastline, killing all aboard.
One witness said he heard the strange sound and watched as the plane plummeted, nose-first toward the River Ume, then crashed out of sight with a loud ‘bang’.
Axel Pettersson, 16, told Aftonbladet he was sitting on the couch at his home near Umea Airport eating when heard a sound from the skies becoming higher, and higher-pitched.
Axel said he is used to the sounds of the planes arriving and departing, but described the noise as like one he had never heard before.
He went outside and saw a plane circling.
He began filming, and seconds later captured the plane plummeting rapidly.
He said he heard it crash with a loud “bang” then everything went quiet.
Axel said his pulse rose and he barely breathed, thinking: “what the hell is happening now, what the hell is happening now, what do I do now”.
He called for his parents who immediately alerted emergency services.
At a press conference following the crash, air crash investigation authorities told media all the dead were Swedish, including one person who had dual citizenship.
The authorities rejected reports a wing had fallen off the airborne plane before it crashed.
Witness reports in the Swedish media said some of the parachutists were seen trying to jump off the plane just before the crash.
Authorities in Sweden said the plane had taken off from Umea Airport shortly after 1.30pm and sounded an alarm at 2.12pm.
Local police told Sweden’s SVT reports of the crash came in about 2pm.
It crashed in the river near the island of Storsandskar, which is located about 2km from Umea airport.
A police spokesman said early reports suggested the plane had gone down in the river in an area south of the airport, on Storsandskar.
The aircraft was said to have been a single-engine.
Swedish authorities said the plane was carrying skydivers.
Witnesses living nearby the airport told Expressen they had heard a ‘bang’ and saw the plane dip.
Another witness said she saw the plane spin with its nose facing downwards before it plummeted.
“We are already on the scene with a rescue team which is assisting the ambulance and we have opened a location, together with aid organisations, to give psychological and social care,” Conny Qvarfordt from the local rescue services told Sweden’s TT newswire, reports Sweden’s The Local.
Umea Airport operator Swedavia, said the plane was a GippsAero GA8 Airvan, which is a single-engine eight-seater utility aircraft, similar to a Cessna.
The small plane designed to carry parachutists crashed on an island on the Ume river shortly after take off, police spokesman Peder Jonsson said.
He added the cause for the accident was unknown.
He said those on board were on a skydiving trip.
The region’s main University Hospital of Umea confirmed there were no survivors and relatives of the deceased had been notified.
Neither Jonsson nor the hospital immediately identified the victims’ names or nationalities.
King Carl XVI Gustaf expressed his sorrow in a statement.
“In view of today’s tragic air crash outside Umea, which took nine people’s lives, I want to convey my condolences. My family and I send our thoughts to their families and relatives,” he said on Facebook.
Sweden’s Prime Minister Stefan Lofven said the government was in close contact with the relevant authorities as they investigate the cause of the crash.