Six people were killed when an aircraft crashed in Germiston shortly after taking off from the Rand Airport east of Johannesburg on Tuesday.

The Saratoga light aircraft took off at 8.10am and about 2km into its journey to Ficksburg in the eastern Free State the pilot called in to request an emergency landing, said airport manager Anton Kruger. However, the aircraft broke up and burst into flames as it came down behind the Germiston Raceway.

Six people were registered on the flight manifest.

The area is surrounded by factories, a golf course and a popular lake.

Civil Aviation Authorities were on their way to the scene of the crash.

ER24 emergency services spokesman Werner Vermaak said their control room was flooded with calls from people reporting the accident. They said the plane just suddenly went down about 500m from the busy N3.

The company sent all their vehicles in the area to the scene but on arrival found that none of the six people on board had survived. “There were no injuries, only fatalities,” he said. “The plane is burnt out.”