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U.S. military plane crashes in southern Kyrgyzstan

ROUGH CUT - NO REPORTER NARRATION A U.S. military refuelling plane on its way to Afghanistan exploded in mid air and crashed in Kyrgyzstan on Friday when its cargo of fuel ignited, the Central Asian country's Emergencies Ministry said. The aircraft took off from the U.S. military transit centre at Kyrgyzstan's international Manas airport, which U.S. forces maintain for operations in Afghanistan, with around 70 tonnes of fuel on board, a local ministry official said. The plane, used for inflight refuelling, disappeared from radar screens at 3:10 p.m. as it flew near the Kyrgyz village of Chaldovar, the ministry said. The three person crew was unaccounted for, it said. The ministry said witnesses saw the plane explode in the air, and a local government official said debris was scattered over a 4 to 5 km area in a nearby mountainous area. "The chassis, the fuselage have all been extinguished and now we are searching for the crew members and the plane's black

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