PULE CHARKHI, Afghanistan (Reuters) - Six Filipinos, one Indian national and a Kenyan were killed on Tuesday when a cargo plane crashed outside Afghanistan’s capital Kabul, the Afghan army said on Wednesday.
The U.S.-based company operating the aircraft, National Air Cargo, said the civilian cargo transport plane was en route from sprawling U.S. Bagram Air Base to Kabul when it hit a mountain 20-30 km (15-20 miles) east of Kabul.
Dozens of Afghan soldiers from a nearby base were deployed to scour the crash site while others provided security. Remains of the plane could be seen from a distance with black smoke still smoldering from the mountain face where aircraft crashed.
Rescuers were carrying remains of the crew in body bags, walking long distance to reach the army ambulances.
The plane had been operating in Afghanistan for about one month, ferrying logistic support for the NATO-led troops from Bagram airbase to the southeastern province of Paktika, according to Afghan army Col. Abdul Wase.
“I saw it from the base, the plane was burning for several hours last night,” Abdul Hakeem, a soldier at the site, said. The plane appeared to have caught fire before it crashed, he said.
The cause of the crash was still under investigation, civilian aviation authority said.
Kabul’s international airport is busy with civilian and military air traffic involved in U.S., NATO and United Nations operations in the country’s conflict and aid efforts, as well as commercial passenger and cargo flights.
In May, a plane from country’s Pamir Airways crashed into a remote Hindu Kush mountain region in the north, killing 43 passengers and crew while a major air crash in 2005 involving Afghan carrier Kam Air killed 104 people on board including several foreigners.
Editing by Patrick Markey