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Plane Crash in Turkey Kills Spanish Peacekeepers - 2003-05-26

Tragedy in Turkey Monday as a plane carrying Spanish peacekeeping troops crashes near the Black Sea, killing everyone on board. VOA-TV’s Jim Bertel has the story.

Seventy-four people, mostly Spanish peacekeeping forces serving in Afghanistan, were killed Monday after a Ukrainian-chartered transport plane crashed in northeast Turkey.

The plane was flying from Bishkek in Kyrgyzstan to Zaragoza, Spain when it went down while attempting to make a refueling stop at Trabzon Airport.

Spain’s Defense Ministry said there were 62 Spanish military personnel on the plane, 21 from the Air Force and 41 Army soldiers.

They were returning from a six-month tour of duty in Afghanistan. Thirteen crew members on board also died.

Turkish authorities say the plane went down on its third landing attempt in thick fog. The officials say the pilot reported not being able to see the runway in the first two attempts.

A huge pile of twisted and burned metal was strewn across a steep hillside at the crash site. Reporters at the scene say diaries of soldiers, family pictures, music CDs and many other personal items were scattered among the debris.