By Associated Press
A stunt plane stalled and plunged into a river in western Australia on Thursday as thousands of people were gathering for an annual Australia Day fireworks display, killing the pilot and the only passenger, police said.
The plane broke up as it hit Perth’s Swan River in front of the horrified onlookers.
The fireworks marking Australia’s national day were canceled out of respect for the dead and to “conserve the integrity of the (crash) site,” Perth Lord Mayor Lisa Scaffidi said. More than 300,000 people were expected to attend the fireworks show.
Acting Police Commissioner Stephen Brown said it was fortunate the plane didn’t hit the gathered people.
“For reasons yet unknown, it’s entered the waterway, thankfully without injuring anyone else on the ground or any other people who are here at the event,” he said.
It wasn’t immediately clear whether the plane was part of the planned festivities.