December 24, 2005

Eight foreigners die in Azeri plane crash

By Lada Yevgrashina

BAKU (Reuters) - Eight foreigners were among 23 people who
died in a plane crash in Azerbaijan, officials said on

The Antonov An-140 aircraft, bound for the Kazakh city of
Aktau, disappeared from radar screens soon after take-off from
the Azeri capital Baku on Friday night.

"There are eight citizens of foreign states among the
dead," a Baku airport official, who declined to be named, told

A police official said the crash was believed to have been
caused by technical problems and ruled out the possibility of a
terrorist attack.

The airport official said the foreigners were an
Australian, a Turk, a Georgian, four Kazakhs and a British

The An-140 is a relatively new short-range passenger plane
designed in the 1990s. The aircraft, which has two propeller
engines and can carry up to 52 passengers, is produced jointly
by Ukraine and Russia.

Witnesses have said that before crashing, the plane was
making slow circles as if the crew were trying to direct it
away from residential areas.

The wreckage of the plane, which carried 18 passengers and
five crew, was later found on the sea shore near Nardaran on
the outskirts of Baku.

Azerbaijan, situated on the Caspian Sea, is a former Soviet
republic with a thriving oil and gas industry.