A small plane exploded early Thursday soon after takeoff from this eastern French city, killing the two pilots and two surgeons who had been heading for a liver removal operation, officials said.
The plane crashed after the explosion just 300 meters from the end of the runway of the Besancon airport, according to the regional emergency situations department. The reason for the explosion was unclear.
All four people aboard were killed, and the bodies were recovered. The two surgeons had been heading to a hospital in Amiens in northern France to remove a patient's liver for a transplant operation, the officials said.