RELATIVES OF al Qaida founder Osama Bin Laden are among the four people who died when a private jet crash-landed at a car auction site in Hampshire.
The Saudi-registered Phenom 300 jet was attempting to land at Blackbushe Airport when it crashed on to dozens of cars and burst into flames on Friday afternoon.
Saudi ambassador to the UK, Prince Mohammed bin Nawaf Al Saud, offered his condolences to the large and wealthy Bin Laden family, who own a major construction company in Saudi Arabia.
The statement, translated by the BBC, said: “His Royal Highness Prince Mohammed bin Nawaf Al Saud ... has paid his condolences to the family and relatives of Mohammed bin Laden at Blackbushe Airport in Britain for the great loss they have suffered as a result of the crash of the plane that was carrying the family.”
A further statement said the embassy would work with the British authorities to ensure a quick repatriation of the bodies for burial.
Sources told the Press Association the jet had flown in from Milan, Italy.
Acting Chief Inspector Olga Venner, of Hampshire Police, said: “We can confirm that there were four people on board, including the pilot.
“Sadly there were no survivors. No-one on the ground has been injured and we would urge anyone with any information, including pictures or videos, to contact 101.”
She said police had launched a joint investigation with the Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB).
An airport spokesman said: “Blackbushe Airport confirmed that a Phenom 300 jet with four persons on board crashed near the end of the runway around 3.09pm while attempting to make a landing.
“The scene was attended by Blackbushe Fire and Rescue within minutes, followed by Hampshire fire, police and ambulance units.”
In the aftermath of the crash, a dark plume of black smoke could be seen twisting into the sky, while an orange-red ball of fire raged below.
The fire appeared to be in the middle of a car park, with vehicles lined up for inspection at the auction site based at the airport.
Debris from the jet could be seen strewn among the dozens of severely damaged cars.
Robert Belcher, a local aviation enthusiast, said he was driving home when he saw a plume of black smoke coming from the site.
He said: “I was passing the airport on my way home and there was a big column of smoke in the air.
“The fire service had closed the road behind me.
“I could see the plume of smoke waving from about five miles away and was hoping it was just a car fire rather than an aircraft accident.”
Mr Belcher said he was “shocked” when he discovered that a jet had crashed.
He added: “Apparently the aircraft was landing and just didn’t stop.
“At the end of the runway there is a car park because the airport is used for car auctions and it’s gone into there.
“I assumed it was cars on fire in the auction yard.
“Local people have said that it was this aircraft which is registered in Saudi Arabia.
“It’s been a regular visitor to the airport for a few months.
“The aircraft would hold six people, it’s a small jet.”
A group of people, believed to be the family of the victims, were escorted to the site by police officers.
The scorched remains of the jet could be seen lying beside charred hulks of cars in the middle of the auction storage area.
A resident who did not want to be named said he saw the plane come down while he was repairing his chimney.
“I was on the roof and I heard the jet and thought I would watch it land,” he said.
“I saw it going past, then it was about 20 feet off the ground and I thought, it’s not got enough runway to land here. It was too high as it was coming in to land and didn’t touch the runway.
“The next thing I heard was the crash sirens and a big plume of smoke going up.
“It was a really big plume of smoke and I could hear cars exploding over at the market.”