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Last Updated: Monday, 28 June, 2004, 16:26 GMT 17:26 UK
Father, daughter among plane dead
The crashed plane in Devon
The plane landed with its nose buried in the ground
Police in Devon say a father and daughter were among four people who died when a light aircraft crashed into a field after take off on Sunday.

They have not yet been named by police but were said to be from Devon.

The Cessna 206 single-engine aircraft crashed shortly after 1800 BST at Luppitt Woods near the village of Beacon just outside Honiton.

The other two fatalities were the male pilot of the aircraft, from Wiltshire, and another man.

The sound of the engine was very noticeable
Eric Franklin, eyewitness
The passengers were aboard the Cessna to carry out parachute jumps.

Two men and the woman died at the scene in the east Devon countryside. Another man died later in hospital.

Two injured passengers, a 23-year-old man from Taunton, Somerset, and a 16-year-old youth from Kingsteignton, south Devon, are still in a serious condition in hospital.

Moments before the crash, the plane flew low over a nearby house before making the final three miles back to Dunkeswell Airfield.

The plane almost broke in half as it crash-landed and ended up with its nose buried in the ground and the middle of its fuselage broken.

A Devon and Cornwall Police spokesman said those who died in the crash were likely to be named on Tuesday, when forensic post-mortems would also be carried out.

On Monday experts from Air Accident Investigation arrived at the crash scene in a field a few miles from Dunkeswell airfield, where the aircraft took off.

An AAI spokesman said a decision would be made whether or not to take the wreckage to Farnborough for detailed examination.

It was also hoped to speak to the crash survivors when they were well enough, said the spokesman, adding that a report would be prepared in due course.

'Sounded rough'

Retired police officer Eric Franklin, 66, saw the plane come low over his house at Pound Farm, Beacon, but did not realise it had crashed until he heard fire engines racing to the scene.

He said: "I did not actually see it come down but it had come over my house with the engine spluttering and I thought at the time that it would be lucky to make it to Dunkeswell.

"The engine sounded very rough but it was still going and it flew over the hill going towards the airfield.

"As it went over I realised I could not hear the engine any more but I did not know if it had cut out or whether the hill was blocking out the sound.

Scene examined

Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital
The two injured passengers are being treated at the RD&E

"I did not hear the crash and there was no explosion or fire. I have been to see the crash site and the plane is nose down. Its back has been broken.

"I could not tell whether it had somersaulted but it looked as if the pilot had tried to put it down in the field and it had crashed while making a forced landing.

"It was not extraordinarily low when it came over my house but the sound of the engine was very noticeable."

The Devon School of Flying, based at Dunkeswell, said none of its aircraft or pilots were involved.

The airfield, built for the United States Navy in the war, is used by a lot of private fliers and is particularly popular with parachutists.

The BBC's Janine Jensen
"There was a spluttering engine before it crashed"



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