Gulfstream IV runway overrun in Le Castellet Airport, France, kills three
Wednesday, 18 July 2012 18:12
All three crewmembers perished when their Gulfstream IV crashed on landing at Le Castellet Airport (LFMQ) in the south of France on Friday, July 13, 2012 at 3:18 p.m. local time.
Police Officers walk near the plane that crashed on landing at Le Castellet
airport, near Toulon, southern FranceÂ Photo: AP
The twinjet, registered as N823GA, was being operated by U.S. charter firm Universal Jet Aviation on a Part 91 positioning flight from nearby Nice. There were no passengers aboard theÂ aircraft.
Local media reports suggest that the aircraft broke in two, with the forward fuselage ending up in a pond and the rear section coming to rest among trees. At least one of the two sections caught fire. Images of the wreckage show the thrust reversers were in the deployedÂ position.
Fire engines were called to the scene as the main cabin blazed on the runway, but nothing could be done to save those on board, said the same source.
"It was an appalling accident â€“ an investigation has already started," said the source, who said the accident happened at around 3pm. He added: "All the victims are American passport holders."
A short statement from the Var dĂ©partement prefecture said that there were no passengers on board the long-range business jet and that the three killed were American crewmembers, two men (aged 24 and 60) and a 30-year-old woman.
A Universal Jet Aviation spokesman confirmed to AIN that the accident aircraft belonged to the Boca Raton, Fla.-based charter company. â€śWe currently have no further details concerning the circumstances of this incidentâ€¦[and] we are cooperating with all investigative agencies,â€ť he said. â€śOur focus at this time is supporting the needs of the crew and their families.â€ť The French bureau of air crash investigations (BEA) has yet to release factual information for thisÂ accident.
Castellet International Airport was built by the late French pastis tycoon Paul Ricard in 1962.
It is the largest private airfield on the French Riviera, and frequently used by celebrities with homes in the area, as well as business people. (AP/AINonline/AC)