Antananarivo, Oct 25: Six people died when their light plane crashed shortly after takeoff in the southwest of Madagascar, the transport minister said today.
Both Madagascan pilots and all four foreign passengers died, he said. The four passengers included three Italians and one Swiss, an official from the Madagascan Society of Marble and Granite (MAGRAMA), where the passengers worked, said.
''A small plane belonging to a private airline, la SociDetDe de Transport ADerien, crashed at about 0415hrs in Toliara ...
killing 6 people,'' Roland Randriamampionona, minister of transport and public works, said on national radio.
Francis Ramanantsoa, director of the regional tourism office who was on the scene after the accident, said the crash happened about 1 km from the runway.
''The plane caught fire and the six bodies were all burnt to ashes,'' he told Reuters by phone.
The transport minister said an inquest had been set up to determine the cause of the crash.
In July, engine failure forced an Air Madagascar flight with 200 people to make an emergency landing, but nobody was hurt.