Four people, including the pilot, were killed when a light aircraft crashed at a car auction in Blackbushe Airport, Hampshire. Media reports suggest the plane was registered to a Saudi company owned by the Bin Laden family.
There were no survivors in the crash, as the pilot and three passengers died in the incident, Inspector Olga Venner from the Hampshire Constabulary told reporters at the scene. She confirmed that no one on the ground was injured. An investigation into the crash has been launched.
Meanwhile, reports published by UK media outlets, including the Daily Mail and Mirror, have alleged that the jet – an $11 million Embraer Phenom 300 – was owned by Jeddah-based Salem Aviation, a company named after Osama bin Laden’s elder cousin, who himself was an amateur pilot and died in a plane crash.
The jet’s registration number, HZ-IBN, was used by Osama bin Laden’s father, Mohammed. Mohammed, also a victim of an aircraft accident, used the same ID when he crashed in a small Beechcraft plane in 1967. However, the family is believed to have retained the number.
The Phenom was reportedly returning from Milan and was attempting to land when it crashed.
Blackbushe Airport issued a statement that the plane had crashed at the end of the runway while landing.
Footage from the crash has been released on social media showing the aircraft ablaze, as black smoke rises from the wreckage. The witness described the scene as “very sad.”
Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service said they were called to the scene at 3.10pm.
The aircraft is said to have missed the runway and crashed into a British Car Auctions site.
The South East Coast Ambulance service sent out a tweet confirming they had received reports of four casualties after the incident.
The Saudi General Authority of Civil Aviation tweeted that it “regrets to inform of an accident of a Saudi registered-private aircraft today in the UK.”
Saudi and British media reported that the stepmother and sister of Osama bin Laden are believed to have been among the victims of the plane crash.
The Al Qaeda leader was killed by US special forces in Pakistan’s Abbottabad in 2011.
In a message posted on the Saudi Embassy’s official Twitter account, Prince Mohammed bin Nawaf Al Saud offered condolences to the Bin Laden family.
“His Royal Highness Prince Mohammed bin Nawaf bin Abdul Aziz, the ambassador of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques to the United Kingdom, offered his condolences to the sons of the late Mohammed bin Laden and their relations for the grave incident of the crash of the plane carrying members of the family at Blackbushe airport.”
Eyewitness Joe Ramos told Eagle 964 Radio there was a “loud bang” and his son came into the auction hall saying “a plane had gone down.”
The aircraft “missed the runway” and crashed into the auctions site located at the airport, the spokesperson said.
Daphne Knowles, 70, told local reporters he was in a field with cattle when he heard an aircraft “coming very, very fast from behind me.”
“Two people said they thought it had to swerve to miss another aircraft as it went in, but I didn’t see that myself and can’t confirm, then there was a huge black cloud of smoke which went up.”
Knowles said it appeared the aircraft “tried to land at Blackbushe having travelled northwards.”
A spokesman for the Air Accidents Investigation Branch said: “The AAIB are aware and have deployed a team.”
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