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The World : 21 Die as Airliner Explodes

February 09, 1988

A West German commuter airliner, bombarded by lightning and hail, exploded in a fireball and crashed, killing all 21 people aboard, authorities said. Witnesses said a wing fell off the plane, a twin-engine turboprop FA-4 Metroliner, just before the craft crashed in a rural area near Muelheim, about 7 miles north of its destination, the Duesseldorf airport. One witness said the sound of lightning striking the plane "was as if a giant pounded on a sheet of steel with a large hammer." The plane belonged to the Nuremberg Flight Service, and 19 passengers and a crew of two were on board at the time of the crash.

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