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4 Moldovan Nationals Killed in Plane Crash Off Ivory Coast

  • VOA News

People gather near the wreckage of the plane in the sea off Abidjan, Ivory Coast, Oct. 14, 2017. (VOA / Narita Namasté)

Four Moldovan nationals were killed Saturday when a cargo plane crashed into the sea off the Ivory Coast, according to the Ivorian security minister.

Minister Sidiki Diakite told reporters six other people were injured, including four French citizens, three of whom are French soldiers.

A French military source said the aircraft had been chartered by the French army as part of Operation Barkhane, an anti-jihadist operation in Africa's Sahel region.

The plane was carrying French military cargo, according to a spokesman for French forces in the Ivory Coast who identified himself only as Lt. Villain, citing French protocol.

Police said there were 10 people aboard the propeller plane, which crashed into the sea near the international airport in the main city of Abidjan during a powerful thunderstorm.

The cause of the crash has not been determined and it was not immediately clear if the weather played a role.

"The aircraft failed to land and crashed in the water," police commissioner Charlemagne Bleu said.

WATCH: Video from crash site

Hindered by rough seas, firefighters and rescue divers removed bodies from the plane, which had broken apart and settled near the beach.

The plane had taken off from Burkina Faso's capital of Ouagadougou for a French military base in Abidjan, which provides logistical support for Operation Barkhane.

One of the operation's key missions is to remove French or other Western civilians from the Ivory Coast or neighboring countries in the event of trouble.

VOA French contributed to this report.

WATCH: Video from crash site

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