All nine crew member of a Russian cargo plane were killed as the aircraft crashed in the Ural region, according to the emergency situations ministry. An inquiry will be set up to look into the crash's cause.
A cargo plane crashed as it prepared to land in the city of Chelyabinsk in the Urals region of Russia on Monday, killing all nine people aboard, a spokeswoman for the emergency situations ministry said.
"The pilot told ground control that there was smoke in the cockpit and he decided to return to the airport. The plane crashed as he was coming in for landing," the spokeswoman, Natalya Andryanova, said on state television.
"All the crew members died," Andryanova said. Officials quoted by Russian news agencies said there were nine people on board the An-12, a large cargo plane that has been in production since the 1960s.
The crash happened 12 kilometres (seven miles) north of Chelyabinsk.
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev offered his condolences and ordered Transport Minister Igor Levitin to set up an inquiry to look into the reasons for the crash, RIA Novosti news agency reported, quoting a Kremlin spokesman.
A Chelyabinsk resident, Vladimir Zonov, told Echo of Moscow radio that the plane had crashed into a field of wheat and that smouldering debris from the wreckage was scattered up to 300 metres from the site.
"We saw a big flame, as if something had exploded," Zonov said.
The An-12, a large cargo plane that can carry around 20 tons, reportedly belonged to the Moskoviya charter flight company and was on a route from Chelyabinsk to Perm, also in the Urals.
A company employee told AFP in Moscow that he knew nothing about a crash.
In July last year, a 1964 vintage An-12 crashed in Moscow's Domodedovo airport, killing seven people.
Date created : 2008-05-26