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Plane from US airbase crashes in Kyrgyzstan: ministry

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

A refuelling plane from the US Manas airbase in Kyrgyzstan crashed after taking off, the emergency situations ministry told AFP on Friday.

"According to my information, the plane broke up into three pieces. Information on the dead or wounded is being clarified. All the rescue services have gone to the scene," the ministry's press secretary Abdisharip Bekilov said.

The plane crashed near the mountain village of Chaldybar, around 200 kilometres from the capital Bishkek and close to the border with Kazakhstan, the emergency ministry spokesman said.

The press service of the US base, which serves troops in Afghanistan, told the Interfax news agency that it could not immediately confirm the information on the crash.

"We cannot confirm this information, it is being checked," a spokesman told the agency.

The plane took off at 2:30 pm local time from Manas, the press secretary of the ministry of transport and communications, Kylychbek Dosumbetov, told AFP, citing the country's Civil Aviation Agency.

The emergency situations ministry said that preliminary information was that a KC-135 Stratotanker plane lost contact with the base as soon as it took off.

Witnesses told the Kyrgyz AKIPress news agency that they heard a boom and then an explosion and that the plane was continuing to burn.

tol-am/boc

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130503/plane-us-airbase-crashes-kyrgyzstan-ministry-0