Small plane crashes in central Berlin

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The Reichstag building (April 2004)

Friday, July 22, 2005

A small single-engine ultralight aircraft has crashed on a lawn between the Reichstag building, the seat of the German parliament, and the Bundeskanzleramt, the seat of the chancellor, in Berlin. The aircraft crashed at approximately 2000CET. Amateur footage aired by the ARD shows the plane rapidly descending before crashing on the lawn and bursting into flames. Witnesses at the scene were inconclusive about the heading of the plane. Some stated that it was targeting the Reichstag while others said that the pilot tried to steer away from it. He was killed in the crash. People near the scene attempted to fight the fire with hand-held extinguishers, however the aircraft was mostly destroyed by the time the emergency services arrived.

The German authorities have ruled out terrorism. Police are saying that the pilot's wife has been missing since Monday and they had suspected that he might have something to do with the disappearance. It is possible that he might have committed suicide to avoid prosecution.

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