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Nine killed in cargo plane crash in Siberia

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Emergency specialists work at the crash site of the Antonov An-12 cargo plane in Irkutsk region, Russia November 3, 2021. Press service of the Governor of the Irkutsk region/Handout via REUTERS

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MOSCOW, Nov 3 (Reuters) - A Belarussian-owned cargo plane crash-landed in Siberia and burst into flames, killing all nine people on board, after disappearing from radar just outside the city of Irkutsk, officials said.

Russia's federal aviation agency Rosaviatsiya said the Antonov An-12 plane, owned by Belarussian company Grodno, circled around after first coming in to land, at which point communication was lost.

"The only thing we can see is that, unfortunately, everyone is dead," said Igor Kobzev, the regional governor of Irkutsk.

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Video footage from the scene showed rescuers battling to put out the flames, illuminated by torchlight in pitch black, snowy conditions. The local branch of the Russian Investigative Committee said it had opened a criminal case over violation of transport safety rules.

Belarussian authorities said the plane had been manned by an experienced crew of three Belarussians, two Russians and two Ukrainians, who had all died, and the plane had not been carrying any cargo. Russian prosecutors later said there had been two additional passengers on board.

Air accidents are not uncommon across the former Soviet Union, especially involving ageing planes in far-flung regions.

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Reporting by Gleb Stolyarov, Anastasia Lyrchikova and Andrey Ostroukh; Writing by Alexander Marrow; Editing by Mark Trevelyan

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