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The BBC's Martha Fairlie
"Just after take-off, a mayday call was issued"
 real 56k

Tuesday, 27 February, 2001, 23:10 GMT
Plane crash crew found dead
plane wreckage
The crews bodies were located in the plane's wreckage
Rescue teams have located the bodies of two crewmen whose Belfast bound plane crashed into the Firth of Forth near Granton, Edinburgh on Tuesday evening

Lothian and Borders Police said the bodies of the two men were found trapped within the wreckage of the plane.

An operation is underway to recover the bodies and gather evidence for the air accident inquiry that will follow.

The plane, a Loganair Shorts 360, ditched around 1730 GMT, shortly after leaving Edinburgh Airport.

Assistant Chief Constable, David Strang
Assistant Chief Constable, David Strang
The flight crew issued a mayday signal and it is believed that they had lost power in both of the plane's engines.

Lothian and Borders Assistant Chief Constable, David Strang, confirmed that both crew members were dead shortly before 2200 GMT on Tuesday night.

"There is now a rescue operation going on involving the RAF, the coastguard, the fireservice and the police to try and recover the crew members from the water," he said.

"But it's bitterly cold and we're doing all we can to recover evidence and debris and the crew members."

Loganair issued a statement shortly after the crash confirming that the plane had two passengers on board.

Charter flight

The statement said: "Loganair regrets to confirm, that one of its shorts 360 aircraft ditched into the firth of forth of near Granton harbour soon after take off from Edinburgh airport this evening just after 5.30pm.

"The aircraft, registration GBNMT, was operating a charter flight to Belfast for the Royal Mail using flight no LC670A it had two pilots on board but no passengers."

The statement said that the aircraft was painted in British Airways colours but was operated through a franchise agreement between the two companies.

It said that BA had offered "every assistance" to Loganair in the immediate aftermath of the crash.

The statement concluded: "The air accident investigation branch has been informed and Loganair will cooperate fully with the investigation."

Helicopters from RAF Kinloss and a Royal Navy dive team are involved in the operation to recover the crew's bodies and gather evidence for an air accident inquiry.

Eyewitness account

Chris Paterson, whose home overlooks the Forth, said: "This one seemed to be going in a strange direction and getting lower quickly so I rushed through to the front of the house and actually saw it coming down behind the trees.

"It looks as if the pilot has tried to land as near to the shore as possible because if it landed on the land it would have hit the chemical works."

David Steadman said: "It looked very graceful coming in. You know like you do a glider, a hang glider, coming in when you sort of land on your feet and go away, it didn't seem to be anything untoward or any problems or whatever.

"But the angle it was coming in, it was hitting near the shore, but with the weather that we're having, the rough seas, etc, it is bitterly cold on the landing."

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See also:

14 Jan 00 | Europe
Shorts 360: Commuter workhorse
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