Four people died when a light plane crashed east of Paris on Sunday, the local fire service said.

A Robin DR400 aircraft that had taken off from Beauvais, northwest of the capital, was found in a field near Saint-Pathus, and an investigation was begun to determine the cause of the accident, the service added. 

Information provided to AFP by the Lognes-Emerainville airfield suggested it was a training flight.

Video: AFP

The light aircraft was "of French origin, limited by law to visual flights at altitudes of no more than 15,000 feet," an airfield source said.

It crashed around 20 kilometres from France's biggest airport, Paris Charles de Gaulle.

A search unit from the paramilitary gendarmerie police was dispatched to the scene, where a strong smell of kerosene filled the air, the fire service said.

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