30 Killed in Cargo Plane Crash in Iraq

A cargo plane carrying Turkish workers crashed Tuesday during landing at an airstrip north of Baghdad, killing at least 30 people, the Turkish Foreign Ministry said.

Initial reports indicated the plane crashed due to bad weather and heavy fog, a Foreign Ministry official said on condition of anonymity because an official announcement had not yet been authorized.

Private Turkish news agencies said the plane was trying to land at the U.S. military base at Balad, 50 miles north of Baghdad. The Foreign Ministry, which earlier had said the crash was near Baghdad, confirmed that the Russian-made plane went down at Balad but did not say whether it was at the U.S. base.

The Antonov-26 had taken off from an airport in Turkey's southern city of Adana and was carrying construction workers from the Kulak Construction Co., the governor of Adana said. The company's owner was among the dead, CNN-Turk television reported.

Phone calls to Kulak's offices in Adana and Ankara went unanswered after the crash.

On board were 29 Turks and one American, as well as a crew of five - three from Moldova and one each from Russia and Ukraine, Gov. Cahit Kirac said. The deputy head of Turkey's aviation authority, Ali Ariduru, said 35 people were aboard, but he did not give nationalities or names.

It was unclear whether anyone escaped the crash uninjured. The Foreign Ministry had said two people were injured.

CNN-Turk television said the pilot had aborted an initial landing attempt for an unknown reason, then crashed on a second attempt.

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Associated Press writer Suzan Fraser contributed to this report from Ankara.


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