Eight Killed In Finnish Skydiving Crash
A Comp Air 8 aircraft carrying skydivers crashed in Finland on Sunday afternoon, killing eight people. The pilot and two skydivers were able to parachute to safety. The airplane was at about 10,000 feet when something went wrong -- some witnesses said parts of the aircraft appeared to detach before it began to descend, other reports cited possible engine trouble. The aircraft descended in a spin, according to witnesses, and was destroyed by fire on impact. "By Finnish standards, this is the most serious flight accident in decades," Ismo Aaltonen, an investigator with Finland's Safety Investigation Authority, said in a news conference. Officials said this week they have ruled nothing out, and are investigating both pilot error and possible mechanical problems.
Investigators said the aircraft may have had problems maintaining stable flight after reaching altitude, according to the Helsinki Times. The nose of the aircraft then dived suddenly, sending the plane into an uncontrolled spin. With the main door closed, the occupants were only able to escape via the cockpit, and only three made it out in time. Video taken by bystanders at the scene shows that one of the wings broke during the descent, but it did not separate from the airframe, according to the Times. Sport aviation has been experiencing a growth spurt in Finland in recent years. The number of registered ultralight aircraft has tripled over the last decade, rising from 500 to 1,500 aircraft, and the number of skydivers has grown to about 2,500, the Times reported.