MOORSELE - A Pilatus Porter crashed on Sunday afternoon Mach 12, 2000 at a military airport at Moorsele in Belgium. All eleven people on board which included ten skydivers and the pilot were injured of which three critical. Shortly after take-off the plane reached an altitude of thirty meters before crashing to the ground and landing on it's belly. The cause of the accident is still unknown. Several people witnessed the incident and rushed to the scene to assist the victims.
The fire-brigade erected a tent at the scene to treat the injured and curious bystanders were kept at a distance.
Frans Deruytter from Brugge was one of the many witnesses: "I come here regularly on Sunday afternoons and always fly with them. Today was an exception as I took an earlier flight to tend to some other obligations I had. When I think that I could have been sitting in the crashed plane myself..."
Dieter Derez, a fourteen year old from Heule was one of the passengers. According to is mother Dieter has been waiting for five mounts to make a tandem jump. Due to the good weather on Sunday his wish was to come true. "Of course I was watching the plane as they took off. Suddenly it plunged to the ground. I never want to live through something like that again, the uncertainty." Except for pain in his head and back, Dieter is fine.
Another witness, Freddy Vandecappelle from Izegem said: "When I saw it plunge to the ground, I feared for the worst." An inspection team was on its way to inspect the wreckage to try an determine the cause of the accident. The airport controller Roland Nuytten says he doubts that it was pilot error. "Eric Vits is one of five full-time professional pilots and has a lot of experience."