* Sudan’s Azza Air plane crashes at Sharjah airport
* All six crew members killed in crash
* Sudan has a poor reputation for air safety
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By Ahmed Jadallah
SHARJAH, United Arab Emirates, Oct 21 (Reuters) - A Sudanese cargo plane crashed shortly after takeoff from Sharjah airport in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on Wednesday, killing all six crew members on board.
Reuters photographer Ahmed Jadallah said the aircraft was completely destroyed. "The aircraft is shattered into pieces and is completely charred and destroyed. The rescue workers are still here and working ..." he said by telephone from the scene.
The Boeing 707 was carrying a crew of six and crashed shortly after takeoff, said Azza Air Transport Co Deputy Manager Ahmed Gasim, speaking in the Sudanese capital Khartoum. He said the aircraft had been leased by Sudan Airways.
A freight handler at Sharjah airport told Reuters the plane came down near the runway.
"We tried to see the plane, but there was nothing left, it was all burnt out," said an aviation company employee whose offices were near the crash site.
The cause of the crash was not clear.
Sudan has a poor reputation for air safety, especially on domestic flights. In June 2008, a cargo plane crashed shortly after taking off from Khartoum airport, killing all four Russian crew. It was the fourth fatal air accident in Sudan in two months. In 2003, a Sudan Airways Boeing 737 crashed in the east of the country, killing 104 passengers and 11 crew members.
Sudan Airways says because of U.S. sanctions imposed on Sudan it has been unable to receive spare parts and training for its planes.
Sharjah, home to one of the busiest airports in the UAE, is one of seven emirates in the federation that includes trade and tourism hub Dubai and oil exporter Abu Dhabi.
An aircraft belonging to Iran’s Kish Air crashed at Sharjah airport in 2004 while landing, killing 43 of the 45 passengers and crew aboard. (Additional reporting by Luke Pachymuthu and Firouz Sedarat in Dubai and Opheera McDoom in Khartoum; Editing by Inal Ersan and Tim Pearce)