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Friday, September 3, 1999 Published at 17:34 GMT 18:34 UK

UK: Scotland

Eight die in plane crash

Listen to Newsdrive on Radio Scotland from 1630 BST and watch BBC Scotland's Reporting Scotland starting at 1830 BST on Friday.

Eight people have been killed and three others injured after a plane crashed into a field and burst into flames seconds after taking off from Glasgow Airport.

The plane was carrying Airtours cabin crew members on a flight to Aberdeen.

The BBC's Andrew Cassell: "One of the planes two engines cut out"
The twin-engined Cessna 402 Titan aircraft, which had 11 people on board, crashed as it attempted to take off at around 1225 BST.

Eyewitness John Connell, who pulled three people from the wreckage, told the BBC he heard one of the aircraft's twin engines fail before it went down.

The BBC's Liz McKean: "An inquiry has begun"
He said: "What drew my attention to it was I could hear the engine splutter and then I just heard it cut out and stop."

Reports said the aircraft skipped over a clump of trees and banked sharply before hitting the ground and bursting into flames near Linwood.

[ image: John Connell: Witnessed crash]
John Connell: Witnessed crash
Eight fire engines, a fleet of ambulances and two rescue helicopters were at the scene shortly after an eyewitness raised the alarm at 1237 BST, but medical crews said those who died appeared to have been killed instantly.

The plane, operated by Edinburgh Air Charter, had broken up and wreckage was lying in at least three pieces about three-and-a-half miles from Glasgow airport.

Manchester-based holiday company Airtours confirmed that nine of its crew members - two pilots and seven cabin crew staff - were passengers on the aircraft.

They were on their way to Aberdeen where they had been due to crew a Boeing 757 on a holiday flight.

It is understood that of the three people who survived the crash, one is an Airtours pilot and two are cabin crew members.

Captain Dave Parsons: "Sorrow for families of the dead"
Two male survivors were taken to Glasgow's Southern General Hospital where they were said to be in a serious condition with multiple injuries.

Accident and emergency consultant Dr Tim Parke said: "They are receiving advanced trauma life support."

A third man is being treated at the Royal Alexandra hospital in Paisley but his condition is not known.

Airtours' Captain Dave Parsons told BBC Scotland the flight was a weekly one taking crew to Aberdeen for a charter to Parma.

BBC News Scotland Correspondent Liz McKean reports on the crash
"Our thoughts are very much with those who survived and the relatives of those who died in this tragic accident which is a real shock to those of us in the airline," he said.

The crash scene is on flat farmland near Middleton Road, midway between the main airport runway and the town of Linwood.

Dave Henry, Managing Director of Airtours International, said: "This is a tragic incident and we are sure everyone will understand the need for privacy at this difficult and distressing time for all involved."

The registered owners of the aircraft are Fraggle Leasing Limited, based in the Isle of Man, and it is thought Edinburgh Air Charter leased the aircraft from Fraggle.

A spokesman for the Department of Transport said: "Two members of the Air Accidents Investigation Branch are on their way to the scene and the branch will be carrying out a full investigation, followed by a report."

[ image: Tony Blair:
Tony Blair: "Deep sympathy"
Prime Minister Tony Blair, who was visiting Scotland, expressed shock at news of the tragedy.

He said: "I would like to express by deep sympathy to the families and relatives of those who have lost their lives.

"I am sure there will be a full inquiry into what happened but the immediate reaction has to be one of profound condolences and sympathy to those involved."

Andrew Cameron, Assistant Chief Constable of Strathclyde Police, told a media conference at Glasgow Airport that a casualty bureau has been set up to "deal compassionately" relatives' enquiries.

The crash is the first aviation accident at Glasgow Airport in 12 years.

In 1987, an aircraft on its way from Reykjavik in Iceland crashed eight miles from the airport, killing four people.

A special relatives helpine has been set up on 0141 204 0011.

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