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Tunisair plane comes down in sea, at least 7 dead

August 6, 2005

PALERMO, Sicily (Reuters) – At least seven people were
killed and 20 injured when their Tunisair flight from Italy to
Tunisia made an emergency landing in the sea off Sicily on
Saturday after reporting a technical fault, emergency services
said.

The pilot of the plane, which had 39 people on board, made
a distress call to Palermo airport at 3:24 p.m. (1324 GMT),
requesting to make an emergency landing, an official at Italy’s
civil aviation authority told Reuters.

The plane landed about 12 miles out at sea at 3:40 and
shortly afterwards survivors were seen on the wings of the
floating plane. A Tunisian government official told Reuters by
telephone that 24 of 35 passengers, all Italians, survived the
crash.

ANSA newswire said the death toll was at least nine.

Survivors brought to shore at Palermo were seen being
helped out of rescue launches, many with bloody faces and
ripped clothes, some yelling in pain. The port was milling with
ambulances while helicopters buzzed overhead.

The twin-turboprop ATR 72 had taken off from Bari in
southern Italy, heading for Djerba, Tunisia, police said.

ATRs are made by Avions de Transport Regional, based in
France, and can carry up to 72 passengers. Earlier, emergency
services had identified the plane as the smaller ATR 42 model.




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