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Belgian Airshow Disaster

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Published on Jul 23, 2007

July 1997 - The pilot of the single-seater plane was a member of the Jordanian air force display team, and was performing an acrobatic solo when he apparently lost control of the plane about five minutes into the maneuvers.

The plane appeared to be pulling out of a nose-dive when it hit the edge of the runway and burst into flames near a first aid post and a stand packed with spectators.

"It was clear the pilot lost control of his plane while he was maneuvering," Belgian Interior Minister Johan Vande Lanotte said.

Jordanian television identified the pilot as Capt. Omar Hani Bilal.

The crash occurred about 5 p.m. (1500 GMT) at an airport near the Belgian coastal city of Ostende.

A fleet of ambulances and military helicopters ferried the wounded to hospitals as far away as Brussels, about 60 miles (100 kilometers) east of the North Sea resort.

Sunday's displays at the two-day international air show were canceled after the crash.

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