Five die as light aircraft crashes in Portugal


AFP

LISBON, Portugal — Five people died when a Swiss-registered light aircraft crashed into a supermarket warehouse in the suburbs of Lisbon on Monday, rescue services said. The fatalities comprised the pilot and all three passengers — a Swiss and three French nationals — who were aboard the aircraft, plus a Portuguese truck driver who was at the warehouse at the time, they said in a statement.

Three other people were slightly injured. The warehouse, operated by the Lidl supermarket chain, is about a kilometer from an aerodrome at Tires, in the district of Cascais about 20 kilometers from central Lisbon. Two of the French victims were Marseille surgeon Jean-Pierre Franceschi, 65, and his wife Nathalie, Marseille Mayor Jean-Claude Gaudin said in a statement late Monday. Gaudin expressed his condolences to their families and paid tribute to the “internationally recognized orthopaedic surgeon …. a leading authority in the sports world.” Surgeon to the Soccer Stars A knee specialist, Franceschi had notably operated on legendary former France striker Jean-Pierre Papin, the 1991 Ballon d’Or winner, and former France and Arsenal star Robert Pires. According to a statement issued by the aerodrome, the plane belonged to Symbios Orthopaedics, a company based near Lausanne, Switzerland that specializes in orthopaedic prosthetics. The twin-engine Piper PA-31 plane had just taken off on a flight to the southern French city of Marseille when it crashed, hitting a truck parked at the warehouse. About 90 firefighters mobilized to fight a blaze, which was quickly put out. A neighboring house was also damaged.