2 para­chute air­craft col­lide midair over Slo­vakia, kill 7

The China Post - - INTERNATIONAL - BY KAREL JANICEK

Two planes car­ry­ing dozens of parachutists col­lided in midair Thurs­day over western Slo­vakia, killing seven peo­ple, of­fi­cials said. Thirty-one oth­ers on board sur­vived, some by jump­ing out with their para­chutes, of­fi­cials said.

The crash took place Thurs­day morn­ing about 0720 GMT near the vil­lage of Cer­veny Ka­men, said Zuzana Farkasova, a spokes­woman for the Slovak fire­fight­ers. Res­cue work­ers used he­li­copters to reach the crash site in the White Carpathi­ans moun­tain range that forms the bor­der with the Czech Re­pub­lic.

Peter Bubla, spokesman for the Health Min­istry said 38 were on board the two planes and 31 sur­vived. Five peo­ple needed some med­i­cal treat­ment but no­body was hos­pi­tal­ized, he said.

Ju­raj Denes, an of­fi­cial with the Slovak Air and Naval In­ves­ti­ga­tions Bureau, a gov­ern­ment agency that in­ves­ti­gates plane crashes, said the two L-410 trans­port planes col­lided at an al­ti­tude of 1,500 me­ters.

He said the pas­sen­gers on board were parachutists and some from one plane sur­vived be­cause they man­aged to jump out be­fore the col­li­sion.

Ju­raj Gyenes of the same avia- tion agency told TA3 news tele­vi­sion that the dead in­cluded the two crew mem­bers from both planes and three parachutists.

TA3 re­ported the parachutists were train­ing for this week­end’s air show in nearby Slavnica.

“All of a sud­den, I heard a big blow,” one wit­ness told TASR, the Slovak news agency, in a news video. “Then, it roared. I thought some pieces were fall­ing, but it could be the parachutists.”

Slovak Health Min­is­ter Vil­iam Cis­lak and In­te­rior Min­is­ter Robert Kali­nak vis­ited the crash site, where wreck­age from the planes smol­dered among the dense moun­tain for­est.

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