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11 killed, 1 injured in crash

Eleven people were killed and one was injured when a small plane carrying parachutists crashed and burst into flames shortly after takeoff in southern Poland, firefighters said Saturday.

Experts said it was the worst passenger plane crash in Poland in many years.

National spokesman for the firefighters, Pawel Fratczak, said that eleven parachutists and a pilot were on board of the twin engine aircraft when it took off for a training flight. A few minutes later it crashed and caught fire in an orchard in the village of Topolow. No one was hurt on the ground, he said.

Fratczak said that firefighters called to the site found two dead, and one injured person was taken to the hospital. Later, the firefighters' local spokesman, Pawel Liszaj, said that medical services at the site confirmed there were nine other bodies in the wreckage.

The plane was the property of a private parachuting school based at the small airport of Rudniki.

The cause of the crash is being investigated. Firefighters say that the Piper Navajo aircraft may have been overloaded.

The Canadian Press

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