Authorities in Mexico say eight people, including three children, were killed when a small airplane crashed seconds after it took off from an airport in the southern part of the country.
According to reports by Xinhua, the plane, a Piper Navajo, plunged to the ground and burst into flames at Angel Albino Corzo Airport near Tuxtla Gutierrez, the capital of the southern Mexican state of Chiapas. Witnesses said they saw smoke coming out of an engine of the airplane as it was leaving the airport.
Both pilots and all six passengers, including three children, died in the crash, which is said to have occurred around 2:00pm local time.
The private aircraft was traveling to the southern state of Oaxaca at the time and reportedly encountered a strong gust of wind, according to the state civil protection department.
Following the accident, operations at the airport were suspended while Mexican army personnel, police agencies and civil protection elements were deployed in the area.
Television images showed a huge tower of smoke billowing from the airport after the explosion of the aircraft sparked a brush fire in a nearby meadow.
A full investigation into the cause of the Chiapas plane crash is currently underway.