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100 die as plane hits building; Airliner swerves to avoid Cessna.

MORE than 100 people were killed today when an airliner swerved off the runway to avoid a light aircraft and crashed into a building at Milan's Linate airport.

The SAS MD-87 airliner, with 104 people on board, 56 foreigners and 48 Italians, was about to take-off in thick fog when a small Cessna aircraft crossed in front of it.

The airliner, en route to Copenhagen, crashed into a baggage-handling building after taking evasive action in an attempt to avoid hitting the smaller plane.

In a statement, the airline company said: "SAS is doing everything possible to help passengers and to assist Italian authorities at this time."

Some of the wreckage fell several hundred yards away from the scene of the accident.

All four aboard the German owned Cessna were reported to have died.

Fire crews were at the scene tackling the blaze and searching for survivors.

SAS - Scandinavian Airlines System - is jointly operated by Denmark, Norway and Sweden.

A spokesman for Linate airport, Massimo Baravelli, confirmed the accident but said he couldn't give any details on the number of dead.

"There's a lot of confusion here," he said.

San Raffaele hospital, which is closest to the airport, sent its emergency crews to the scene but hadn't started taking in any injured, said spokeswoman Anna Attoma.

CAPTION(S):

RUNWAY HORROR: An SAS airliner similar to the one that crashed and (below) where the tragedy happened
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Publication:Coventry Evening Telegraph (England)
Date:Oct 8, 2001
Words:234
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