A group of eight men broke into an aircraft at Brussels airport on Monday night and stole diamonds worth some 37 million ($50 million).
A spokeswoman for the local public prosecutor's office said the thieves drove two cars through the security fence and made for a Helvetic Airways plane being loaded for a flight to Zurich. The thieves threatened workers on the tarmac, snatched the diamonds and vanished into the darkness.
Newspaper reports said they were heavily armed but that no shots were fired during the raid. Caroline De Wolf, spokeswoman for the Antwerp World Diamond Center, said the haul was estimated to be worth as much as $50 million. "What we are talking about is obviously a gigantic sum," De Wolf told Belgian broadcaster VRT.
According to the RTL.be news site, the thieves stole a suitcase of diamonds weighing some 10 kilos. The plane is also believed to have been carrying gold. The precious freight was being transported by the security and protection company Brink's. The destination of the diamonds hasn't been revealed.
Belgian police found a burned-out car later on Monday evening near Zellik, northwest of Brussels. There is no trace of the second vehicle.
cro -- with wire reports
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