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Sat, Jul 23, 2005

UL Plane Crashes Near German Parliament

Authorities Suspect Suicide

A general aviation pilot whose ultra-light aircraft went down close to the seat of power in Berlin, Germany, Friday may have committed suicide, authorities said.

The aircraft went down on a lawn between the Reichstag and Chancellor Gerhardt Schroeder's office. Officials told Reuters they had ruled out terrorism as a factor in the incident.

"Before taking off, the pilot supposedly spoke of his intention to kill himself," Berlin's deputy police chief, Gerd Neubeck, told reporters at a news conference. "Everything points to a suicide."

The 39-year old pilot had been questioned by police earlier this week about the disappearance of his wife, missing since Monday. Before departing the airfield at Brandenburg, the unnamed pilot reportedly handed over the keys to his car, along with some personal documents, to his 14-year old son and left -- saying he was going to kill himself.

The search for the man's wife continues.

In the meantime, some conservative politicians in Germany used the incident as a launch pad for calls to ban general aviation flight over the capital.

"It is very worrying that a plane can get so close to the center of power," said politician Wolfgang Bosbach, who could end up as the country's interior minister if Schroeder's party is ousted from power in the upcoming elections.

FMI: www.luftrecht-online.de/english/bmv.htm

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