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Tue, Jul 31, 2007

Seven Lost In Russian Cargo Plane Accident

Aircraft Was To Be Retired This Year

Seven people onboard an Antonov 12 were killed in Russia Sunday, when the 1960s-era cargo plane went down on takeoff.

The four-engine turboprop had just departed Domodedovo Airport, officials told The Associated Press. The plane, flying for privately-owned Atran, impacted a field southeast of Moscow at 4:22 am local time Sunday.

Rescue teams recovered both of the aircraft's cockpit recorders, Emergency Situations Ministry spokesman Viktor Beltsov said.

Documents show the aircraft was carrying around 18,000 pounds of cargo onboard when it went down, well below the plane's reported 20-ton gross weight.

While a cause of the accident has not yet been identified, experts cited by AP note overloading has caused several cargo plane crashes in Russia, and it is common for carriers to forge manifests.

Over 100 An-12s remain in service throughout the world. The accident aircraft was to be retired from service later this year, aviation officials told RIA-Novosti.



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