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At least eight killed in Afghanistan plane crash

A Pakistani-owned plane carrying cargo for the U.S.-led coalition crashed into Afghanistan’s mountains Friday, killing at least eight people, officials said.
Afghan police officers inspect the site of a plane crash 19 miles northwest of Kabul, Afghanistan, on Friday. Officials reported there were no survivors.Tomas Munita / AP
/ Source: The Associated Press

A Pakistani-owned plane carrying cargo for the U.S.-led coalition crashed into mountains near Afghanistan’s capital Friday, killing at least eight people, officials said.

A police commander at the crash site said there were no survivors, but officials differed on how many people had been on board.

Lt. Col. Cristoni Riccar, a spokesman for NATO’s International Security Assistance Force, said 10 people were on board but could not immediately give their nationalities.

Aijaz Faizi, manager of Pakistan-based Royal Airlines, which owned the 20-year-old Russian-made Ilyushin 76, said there were only eight: five Russians, two Ukrainians and a Pakistani.

The reason for the discrepancy was not immediately clear.

Five bodies have been recovered, said Ghulam Rasool, a police commander at the crash site near Bagram, the U.S.-led coalition’s headquarters.

“They are in many pieces,” he said.

Inclement weather cited
Bad weather may have played a role in the crash, Rasool said, holding up a piece of the wreckage. Clouds hung low over the area as rescuers searched for bodies.

Several villagers said they saw the four-engine plane slam into the mountainside.

“The plane was swaying from side to side and flying very low,” said Malang, a 50-year-old farmer who only uses only name. “There was no smoke coming from it. It then slammed into the mountain. There was such a loud bang and then flames shot everywhere.”

But another witness, Farid Zia, said he saw flames coming from one of the plane’s wings before it crashed.

Some children carried away chunks of the plane’s fuselage, Russian magazines and Russian rubles that were scattered about.

The plane was flying from Kabul to Bagram, a distance of about 18 miles.

Lt. Col. Jerry O’Hara, a U.S. military spokesman at Bagram, said the plane was carrying cargo for the coalition, either communication equipment or food.

Faizi said the plane had flown from Bahrain to Kabul before taking off for Bagram.

Both Bagram and Kabul are surrounded by mountains. Flights into the area are often canceled when weather is bad.

There have been a string of aircraft crashes in Afghanistan this year, mostly of military helicopters.

On Feb. 3, a plane belonging to Kam Air, Afghanistan’s only private airline, crashed in mountains near Kabul due to bad weather, killing all 104 people on board.