9 killed in Sweden skydiving plane crash

COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) — A small plane carrying skydivers crashed outside the Swedish city of Orebro, killing all nine people on board, police said on Friday.

The dead included the pilot and eight passengers, police said. The victims were members of a local skydiving club, according to Orebro County Governor Maria Larsson.

Spokesperson Carl-Johan Linde of the Swedish Maritime Administration, which oversees air traffic, told broadcaster SVT Thursday evening’s crash must have occurred “in connection” with the plane’s takeoff.

The plane burst into flames upon impact on what appeared to be an open field.

“There were no lives to save,” local fire chief Per-Ove Staberyd, who coordinated the work of firefighters and other first responders, said.

Police received word of the crash shortly before 7:30 p.m. local time and quickly knew it was “a very serious incident,” deputy regional police chief Niclas Hallgren said on Friday.

He said that investigating the accident would be “a difficult job. It will take its time.”

Hallgren declined to provide details about the victims or speculate why the plane had crashed. But Joakim Berlin, an instructor with the Stockholms Fallskarmsklub, told Swedish broadcaster SVT that it was ”nine of our comrades who have perished, who are members of our sky diving family.”

The Swedish Accident Investigation Authority immediately dispatched a team to the crash site outside Orebro, which is located 64 kilometers (102 miles) west of Stockholm.

“Something happened in the middle of the runway. The plane didn’t get up very high before it went down to the left of the runaway,” Peter Swaffer, Swedish Accident Investigation Authority department chief told daily newspaper Aftonbladet. He didn’t elaborate.

The Dagens Nyheter newspaper identified the plane as a single-engine, propeller-driven De Havilland DHC-2 Beaver.

Prime Minister Stefan Lofven wrote on Twitter that it was “with great sadness and dismay” that he heard about the crash, and he expressed his “deepest sympathy.”

Flags flew at half mast in Orebro, and the prime minister said during an impromptu news conference that Friday was “a day of mourning in Sweden.”

In a statement, Sweden’s King Carl XVI Gustaf offered his condolences to the victims’ relatives, adding that he and the royal family “regret their heavy loss.”

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