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Two people die as last flying Mosquito crashes

The last airworthy example of the famous World War II Mosquito fighter-bomber crashed into woods during an air show in England on Sunday, killing both crew members, police said.

The pilot and navigator were found dead in the cockpit after the 50-year-old twin-engine bomber suddenly dived into trees just a mile from the airfield near the northwestern city of Manchester. No spectators were injured.

The plane went down during the annual Barton Air Show.

The cause of the crash was not known. Police said the dense forest was hampering the investigation.

The English-built Mosquito, largely made of wood to keep the weight down, was one of the fastest aircraft of World War II and proved to be one of the most versatile.

More than 7,000 were produced and served with distinction as day and night fighters, bombers, torpedo-bombers and unarmed photographic reconnaissance aircraft. The Mosquito served for 21 years before being retired from active duty in 1962.

The bomber that crashed was believed to have been the last of the de Havilland D.H. 98 Mosquitoes still in flight, although others are in museums.

The Mosquito was one of the fastest aircraft until the invention of jet-engine fighters. It had no defensive armor, relying instead on speed and maneuverability to outdistance opponents.

It was the second fatal crash of a World War II aircraft at an English air show recently. Two people died a week ago when an American fighter crashed in Duxford, 40 miles from London. That plane was a twin-engine U.S. P-38 Lightning.

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