|Rescuers work near an air crash site in Namur, Belgium, on Oct. 19, 2013. A small plane crashed near the Fernelmont town, southeast of Belgium, on Saturday, killing all 11 people on board, local media reported. (Xinhua/Zhou Lei)
BRUSSELS, Oct. 19 (Xinhua) -- A small plane carrying ten skydivers and one pilot crashed near the city of Fernelmont in southeastern Belgium on Saturday, killing all people on board.
According to local media reports, the plane crashed minutes after taking off from an airport near Namur. The skydivers were taking part in a birthday celebration for a 40 year old woman who is also among the victims.
"It seems that the plane lost a wing in mid-flight, and it then went into a spin," the Belga news agency quoted Namur mayor Maxime Prevot as sayin.
The accident took place just before 4:00 pm local time some 75 kilometers southeast of the capital Brussels.
The exact cause of the accident is still unclear.
Rescuers found three open parachutes on the ground, indicating that three people had tried to escape the falling Swiss-built Pilatus PC-6 Turbo Porter, but were too late, according to Fernelmont mayor Jean-Claude Nihoul who was cited by Belga.
The victims were almost all between the ages of 20 and 40, according to Nihoul.
Belgian Prime Minister Elio Di Rupo visited the site of the crash, and said his thoughts were with the families of the victims.
"It has been a long time we have suffered a tragedy of such kind," said Di Rupo.
Belgian King Philippe also visited the scene of the accident.