SWITZERLAND: CROSSAIR PASSENGER AIRPLANE CRASH
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Date: 10/01/2000 05:00 AM
Niederhasli, Switzerland, 10 January 2000
1. Various night shots aftermath at crash site
A small passenger aeroplane belonging to Swiss regional airline Crossair crashed on Monday evening after taking off from Zurich airport.
All seven passengers and three crew were killed.
The cause of the accident remains unknown, but witnesses said they saw the twin-engine turboprop plane turn into a fireball minutes after it had left Zurich's main airport.
Burning wreckage was scattered for 200-300 metres (yards) at Niederhasli, just north the runway at Zurich's Kloten airport.
Flight LX498 - bound for the east German city of Dresden - was carrying seven passengers and a crew of three when it went down.
The 33-seat Saab-340 plane was cleared for takeoff on time at 1755 local time (1655 GMT).
Ten minutes later, it disappeared from radar screens.
Zurich airport was temporarily closed after the crash.
The Saab-340 is widely used in the United States and Europe as a commuter plane.
Crossair said it was the first time in the airline's 25-year history that an aircraft had crashed.
The airplane type had a very good safety record - previously there had been four crashes of the plane type worldwide.
The aircraft that crashed had put in 24-thousand flying hours.
It was the worst accident to hit the parentgroup SAirGroup since a Swissair MD11 flying from New York to Geneva crashed off Canada in September 1998, killing all 229 people aboard.