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Sunbathers killed as aircraft crashes on Portuguese beach

Sunbathers killed as aircraft crashes on Portuguese beach

A light plane was forced to make an emergency landing on a packed beach near Lisbon, killing a man and an eight-year-old girl who were sunbathing, authorities said.

Hundreds of sunbathers were on the beach at Caparica, 30 kilometres (20 miles) south of Lisbon, and witnesses said some sunbathers ran into the sea to avoid the plane.

The National Maritime Authority said the man and girl died on the beach. It did not give the man's age, but local media reported he was 50.

The small aircraft, reportedly a Cessna and carrying two people, appeared to be in difficulty and wobbled as it skimmed low over the sunbathers - scattering them and spreading panic on the beach, witnesses said.

Some ran into the sea witnesses reported.

The plane appeared to have a partly broken left wing, which hung lower than the right wing, Portuguese television pictures showed.

The dead girl was with her parents, who were unhurt, witnesses told local television channels.

The two occupants of the plane were unhurt and were led away by police.

One eyewitness told cable news channel SIC Noticias that the plane skimmed low over the sunbathers before landing on the beach.

The nationalities of the victims is not yet known.

Press Association