updated 5/26/2008 12:54:33 PM ET 2008-05-26T16:54:33

A Russian cargo plane crashed near a Siberian city Monday, killing all nine people aboard, an official said.

The An-12 cargo plane went down near the city of Chelyabinsk, some 950 miles east of Moscow, Emergency Situations Ministry spokeswoman Irina Andriyanova said. The plane took off from the Chelyabinsk airport, and the crew reported a fire aboard minutes before the crash, she said.

She said all nine crew members aboard died in the crash.

Russian news agencies said the four-engine turboprop was flying to the Ural Mountains city of Perm and was operated by the private Moskovia carrier.

No one answered the phone at Moskovia's offices after hours Monday.

The An-12 was designed in the 1950s and built in big numbers as both military and civilian transport.

Over 100 such planes are still in service in Russia and other nations.

Russia and the other former Soviet republics have some the world's worst air traffic safety records, according to the International Air Transport Association.

Experts have blamed weak government controls, poor pilot training and a cost-cutting mentality among many carriers that affects safety.

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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