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Vintage Plane Crashes Off Dutch Coast, Killing All 32 Aboard

September 25, 1996

DEN HELDER, Netherlands (AP) _ A vintage plane carrying aviation enthusiasts crashed Wednesday off the Dutch coast shortly after its pilot reported engine trouble. All 32 people aboard were killed.

A small flotilla of navy and fishing boats headed for the wreckage of the 55-year-old DC-3 Dakota from this fishing town soon after the 4:45 p.m. crash. But would-be rescuers were hampered by mist, fast-fading light and the tangled wreckage of the plane.

The lone survivor of the crash was flown to a hospital, but later died.

The plane, which had been bound for Amsterdam on a pleasure flight, went down in the Wadden Sea about 35 miles north of the Dutch capital, coast guard spokesman Peter Paap said. It was carrying six crew and 26 passengers _ among them members of the Dutch Dakota Association that owned the plane.

The twin-engine prop plane was the only Dakota still flying in the Netherlands. It was used for pleasure flights and displayed at air shows.

Television footage showed the Dakota’s tail jutting out of the water and the mangled remains of the rest of the plane just under the surface of the shallow sea. A mass of boats surrounded the wreck and helicopters hovered overhead.

The plane’s pilot reported engine trouble shortly after taking off from the North Sea island of Texel on the 40-mile flight to Amsterdam, and was planning an emergency landing at this town’s small airport, Dutch Navy spokesman Lt. Col. Jaap van der Waal said.

Anne Greoeneveld, head of the Dutch Dakota Association, said the plane ``was in perfect technical condition. It was recently checked by the Dutch Aviation Association.

``It doesn’t fly many miles each year and it undergoes regular preventative maintenance. There is absolutely no reason to suspect technical malfunction.″

The identities of the victims were not made public.

Two months ago, a C-13 Hercules transport plane crashed in the southern Dutch city of Eindhoven, killing 34 passengers and crew. Among the dead were members of the Dutch army’s Fanfare band.

The Wadden Sea is a stretch of water between the Dutch West coast and a chain of North Sea islands including Texel.

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