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11 dead as Libyan military plane crashes in Tunisia

© Photo: MOHAMED FLISS / AFP

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2014-02-21

A Libyan military plane carrying medical patients crashed in Tunisia on Friday, killing all 11 on board, officials said.

The plane came down in a sparsely inhabited farming area in the Grombalia region, some 40 kilometres (25 miles) southeast of the capital Tunis, and burst into flames.

It had been on its way to Tunis-Carthage international airport from a military airfield near Tripoli.

Army units and civil protection services rushed to the scene to put out the fire and extract bodies. 

"The plane crashed at 1:30 am (0030 GMT) ... with 11 people on board - three doctors, two patients and six crew members," emergency services spokesman Mongi El Kadhi said.

"The whole plane was completely burnt out. The emergency services went to the crash site and recovered the charred bodies."

There was no immediate word on the identities of the two patients on board. Libyans often travel to Tunisia for medical treatment.

Tunis air traffic control official Sofiene Bejaoui said the aircraft was a Soviet-designed twin-propeller Antonov-26.

"According to the air traffic controller who spoke to him last, the pilot's final message was 'Engine on fire'," he said.

"The plane is a Libyan air force Antonov-26, registration number Five Alpha Delta Oscar Whiskey.

It was the second crash involving a military plane in North Africa in two weeks. An Algerian military transport plane crashed into a mountain in bad weather on February 11, killing 77 people, in the country’s worst air disaster in a decade.

(FRANCE 24 with AFP, AP and REUTERS)

Date created : 2014-02-21

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