Three people died on Saturday after a plane crashed in Wambrechies, near Lille in northern France. A motor failure is presumably the cause of the accident, says a public prosecutors office spokesperson. The plane was on its way to Belgium.
It was a small aircraft of the type Robin HR 100 with space for four passengers, reports Het Nieuwsblad. On board three people, aged 29, 53 and 61, the spokesperson reports in a communication. According to the French press, it would be a young man and a couple.
The plane, with the destination of Antwerp, crashed around 12 hours on Saturday just after it took off at Bondues Airport. According to the French newspaper La Voix Du Nord, the three people from Béziers who were on board were on their way to family in Belgium.
Shortly after takeoff, the plane crashed near a parking lot behind a restaurant in a business park. The plane caught fire immediately, but the fire brigade could control the flames.
A technical and forensic investigation has been initiated, but the prosecutors office assumes there was a malfunction of the engine.
William, pilot and instructor in Bondues, says in La Voix du Nord that such accidents would be extremely rare. According to him, the pilot would have talked over the radio about a problem in the cabin. That was just before the plane crashed.
The pilot would be a Bertrand Chauvel. He was the former chairman of the Béziers Cap dAgde flight club. Chauvel had just retired and would have been a very experienced pilot.
“We heard a loud engine noise and then a loud bang,” tells a resident who lives right next to where the plane crashed. Other residents also speak of “a loud bang.” Fabrice, who was a little further down the park, saw the plane fall down: “I saw it fall. I thought it was flying a bit low and it seemed like it was struggling to take off further. I suddenly got scared because my daughter lives not far from there.”
According to other residents, there were vibrations as well. For example, a witness tells me that she first thought something was wrong with the building she lives in. “I went to look at the window. Many people were walking, others were already calling emergency services. Im very in shock,” says 26-year-old Typhaine.
“We saved a bigger drama because the plane didnt crash in a residential area and it has also been able to dodge the depositories nearby,” said the mayor of Wambrechies Stéphane Brogniart, against Lille Actu. The mayor stressed that it is not the time to seek guilty people, but that important questions may need to be asked in the future.