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Six Burned in Sweden Jet Incident

June 21, 2002

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STOCKHOLM, Sweden (AP) _ A fighter plane flew too low at a military airport in central Sweden Thursday, burning six visitors on the ground, three of them seriously, an air force spokesman said.

Radio reports said the Swedish-built ``Viggen″ jet swept just 10 yards above the group in the airport near Uppsala, 40 miles north of Stockholm.

Officials did not say how low the plane was flying, but a news release from the air base said the group of seven people were watching a jet exhibition 75 yards from the runway. One of the injured was a pilot in the Italian air force on an official visit, it added.

Christer Ulriksson, a spokesman for the air force’s F16 wing in Uppsala, said the injured were three men and three women, all in their 20s, were injured. Three suffered serious but not life-threatening burns and other three lighter burns.

He said the distance they were standing from the runway did not violate airport rules, but was ``inconveniently close.″

It was not clear why the plane flew over the group at such a low altitude, Ulriksson said.

``We do not know why. But we know the members of the group were acquainted with the pilots of this wing so he may have wanted to give them some sort of extra salute,″ he said. Police have started an investigation.

Update hourly