News just in (5.30pm) is that one of the nine Canadair fire-fighting planes in action in central Portugal has crashed over Pedrógão Grande, killing its British pilot.
According to CMTV the plane was Spanish, but the channel’s newspaper Correio da Manhã suggests it was not one of the two planes loaned by Spain to Portugal.
All that seems to be known is that the plane was in the process of discharging one of its loads of water when it came down in an area between Ouzenda and Louriceira.
Eye witness reports have described “a ball of fire”, an explosion and damaged power lines.
There has been no ‘official confirmation of the accident’, though it is being widely broadcast over radio and television networks.
More details will follow.
The area where the plane came down is “dense with smoke”, said CMTV which also stressed that pilots flying these planes have to take huge risks.
Civil Protection has confirmed that none of the planes on loan to Portugal to fight these fires has crashed,
In other words, it is unclear whether this particular “Canadair” was working on its own, or whether indeed it was a Canadair plane, or any other.
Further details suggest this was a “red herring” story, perhaps fuelled by the explosion of an abandoned caravan holding various gas bottles,