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Last Updated: Wednesday, 14 January, 2004, 09:51 GMT
Dozens die in Uzbek plane crash
The wreckage of the crashed plane in a canal
The plane's landing gear reportedly failed to deploy
A passenger plane has crashed near Tashkent, the capital of Uzbekistan, killing all 37 people on board.

The United Nations says one of the passengers was its top official in the country - Briton Richard Conroy, of the UN Development programme.

The Yak-40 aircraft had flown from the southern town of Termez, and appears to have crashed on approach to Tashkent airport in thick fog.

Termez has been a hub for humanitarian aid since the 2001 war in Afghanistan.

The fog later forced the closure of the airport.

Airport confusion

Uzbekistan's public prosecutor, Rashitjon Kadirov, said the landing gear on the Yak-40 aircraft had failed to deploy.

He said there were no indications that the crash resulted from terrorism, but a full investigation would be held.

Among the dead was Mr Conroy, a 56-year-old British-Australian who was the UN's resident co-ordinator in the country.

There was confusion at Tashkent airport, reports say, as distraught parents and friends waited for information.

A Yak-40 plane
The Yak-40 is commonly used on short runs in former Soviet republics

A government statement said the plane crashed at 1927 local time (1427 GMT).

An airport worker told the Associated Press news agency that the plane appeared to hit a pillar before flipping over and hitting a wall around the landing area.

Police immediately sealed off the area.

Hours after the crash, emergency workers were carrying body parts away from the crash site in large bags, a Reuters correspondent says.

Uzbek President Islam Karimov was later reported to have visited the site.

The Yak-40 - capable of carrying up to 32 passengers - is commonly used on short-distance flights in former Soviet republics.

This plane was coming from Termez, a town along the southern border with Afghanistan.




SEE ALSO:
Air disaster timeline
03 Jan 04  |  In Depth


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