A small plane crashed late Saturday in a town near the Chilean capital, killing all four people aboard, local media reported Sunday, Xinhua reported.
The aircraft took off from an airfield some 50 km northwest of Santiago on Saturday night, but soon began to fall vertically, and then smashed to the ground and burst into flames, according to daily La Tercera.
The plane fell into a vineyard, only about 200 meters from the place of departure, the newspaper said, adding that witnesses saw smoke come from the aircraft before the crash.
"I saw it go up, but there was black smoke coming out. It then turned left and went down," local councilman Jorge Boher was quoted as saying.
The pilot, 53, and the three passengers, all under 20, were found dead on the spot, local authorities said.
The Cessna 182 aircraft belonged to Club Universitario de Aviacion, and the flight was part of the club's year-end activities. Club President Patrick Cook said all the club's aircraft were maintained regularly as required by aviation regulations.
Carlos Johnson, vice president of the aviation club, said he was shocked to hear about the disaster as the pilot had over 20 years of experience in flying this type of aircraft.
A police investigation is now under way.
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