Planes carrying parachutists collide, crash in Slovakia

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Thursday, August 20, 2015

A LET 410, similar to the crashed aircraft, pictured from file in 2000.
Image: John Wheatley.

Two planes carrying parachutists collided this morning in western Slovakia, near the Czech Republic. Of around 40 on board, seven are confirmed dead.

The crash site near Červený Kameň is hard to access; rescuers are using helicopters. Investigators believe some passengers survived by jumping from one of the aircraft, which are believed to be twin-engined LET L-410s. An eyewitness told Dennik he saw people leaping from one aircraft as it went down.

The parachutists were practising over the White Carpathians, the mountains that form the Slovak-Czech border, for an upcoming airshow in Slavnica this weekend. Health Minister Viliam Čislák and Interior Minister Robert Kaliňák visited the site.

The aircraft collided at around 8:30a.m. at a height of around 5,000ft (1,500m). Photos of the scene show scattered wreckage, some of it aflame.