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Seven civilians killed in cargo plane crash at Afghan air base

April 29, 2013|By David Zucchino and Hashmat Baktash

KABUL, Afghanistan -- Seven civilians were killed aboard a U.S.-contracted cargo plane that crashed shortly after takeoff from Bagram air field in Afghanistan on Monday, according to the international military coalition.

The cause of the crash has not been determined, Capt. Dan Einert, a spokesman for the International Security Assistance Force, told The Times Tuesday morning. Einert said there was no indication of enemy activity in the area at the time of the crash.

The Taliban claimed responsibility for the crash, but the insurgent group often issues false claims.

Einert did not provide information on the nationalities of the civilian crew members killed aboard the plane, which he said was leased by National Air Cargo, with U.S. headquarters in Orchard Park, N.Y. 

A brief statement on the company's website confirmed the crash and gave the plane's aircraft identification number as 949CA and the flight number as NCR102. It provided no other information.

Coalition forces rely heavily on contracted aircraft to haul troops and supplies in a nation where roadside bombs and insurgent attacks make traveling by road dangerous.

Zamaray Khan, the local district police chief, said the plane crashed as it was taking off but provided no other details. Bagram is about an hour's drive north of the capital, Kabul, and is one of the two largest air bases serving coalition forces in Afghanistan.

It was the second crash in three days involving coalition aircraft in Afghanistan. On Saturday, four U.S. airmen were killed when a military turboprop plane crashed in southern Afghanistan.

The Defense Department identified the four service members as Capt. Reid K. Nishizuka, 30, of Kailua, Hawaii; Staff Sgt. Richard A. Dickson, 24, of Rancho Cordova; Capt. Brandon L. Cyr, 28, of Woodbridge, Va.; and Staff Sgt. Daniel N. Fannin, 30 of Morehead, Ky.

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