Chartered Plane Crashes in Mumbai, Killing at Least 5


MUMBAI, India — A chartered plane carrying four people crashed into a construction site in a suburb of Mumbai, India’s financial capital, on Thursday, killing everyone on board and at least one pedestrian, aviation officials said.

The crash occurred shortly after 1 p.m. in the residential neighborhood of Ghatkopar, where videos taken by bystanders showed flames shooting from a tangled mass of metal as construction workers and firefighters huddled with umbrellas in the rain. In one video, what appears to be a charred human body lies next to pieces of wreckage.

The turboprop aircraft, a Beechcraft King Air C90, was out for a short test flight around the western suburbs of Mumbai before it crashed into a half-built structure near several high-rise buildings. Shopkeepers in the area said the plane veered toward a large tree near the construction site to avoid hitting people and stores on the ground.

Kantibhai Lalji Makwana, 62, the owner of a snack shop in the area, said several explosions followed, like a “big bomb.” When he moved closer to the crash site, “there was a man burning on the footpath,” he said.

B.S. Bhullar, an official with the Directorate General of Civil Aviation, a government body that regulates aviation in India, told the Press Trust of India that an investigation was underway.

Avanish Kumar Awasthi, the principal secretary for the state of Uttar Pradesh, said that the aircraft was sold by the state government in 2014 to UY Aviation, a company based in Mumbai, after it was involved in another accident in northern India.

India’s aviation record is spotty. In 2010, an Air India plane carrying 166 people from Dubai to Mangalore, a coastal city in southern India, overshot the runway while trying to land, plunged into a valley and caught fire. Only eight people survived, making it one of the country’s deadliest crashes.

Ayesha Venkataraman reported from Mumbai, and Kai Schultz from New Delhi. Hari Kumar contributed reporting from New Delhi.

Source : Nytimes