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NEW DELHI - At least five people have been killed after a chartered plane crashed into a densely populated area in India"s Mumbai city Thursday, officials said.
The plane -- a Beechcraft King Air C 90 turboprop -- with two pilots and two engineers aboard, crashed into an open area next to an under-construction building in Mumbai"s Ghatkopar area and burst into flames around 1:30 pm local time just as it was about to land.
Five people, including a pedestrian, died in the crash, the Mumbai Police said.
"Three passersby also sustained injuries and are being treated at a hospital. Their condition is said to be stable," an official said.
Some five fire tenders were pressed into service and it took them an hour to douse the flames. "The fire has been controlled and we ensured the blaze did not spread to the nearby construction sites. We have also recovered all the charred bodies," a fire official said.
However, aviation officials said that there could have been a major fire disaster had the pilot not managed to steer the plane on to an open site at the last minute as the area was thickly populated and full with a number of under-construction buildings.
"Salute to the pilot who showed presence of mind to avoid a big mishap, saving many lives at the cost of her own life. #RIP to all the 5 Dead. My deepest condolences," former Indian Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel tweeted.
Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis visited the crash site later in the day. "It is a worrying incident. What were the reasons behind the crash and who is responsible for it needs to be found out," he told the media.
India"s civil aviation regulator has said that the 12-seater plane had taken off from the Juhu airstrip in Mumbai on a test flight. "The aircraft"s blackbox has been recovered and a probe was initiated," a senior official of Directorate General of Civil Aviation said.
Local TV channels showed footage of the aircraft in flames and reported that the plane was chartered by the government of the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh.
However, the Uttar Pradesh government clarified that the aircraft no longer belonged to it as it had sold the plane to a Mumbai-based aviation company in 2014. "The deal was done after the plane had met with an accident," Avnish Awasthi, a top government official, told media.
"Anyway, an investigation has been ordered into the crash. A probe team is on the spot collecting evidence," the aviation official added.
This is the second plane crash in two days in Maharashtra. An Indian Air Force fighter jet crashed in the state Wednesday due to a technical glitch. Fortunately, two pilots on board managed to eject safely.blank silicone wristbands wholesaleneon wristbands for eventsmake your own silicone wristbands ukwholesale rubber braceletspersonalized light up bracelets