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Turkish military plane crash kills 34

Casa CN-235 cargo plane
A Turkish Army CASA CN-235 cargo plane, similar to the one that crashed  

ANKARA, Turkey -- A Turkish military airplane has crashed in the southeast of the country, killing all 34 people on board.

Military sources told CNN Turk the plane was carrying 28 special forces troops and six crew members when it came down on Wednesday morning in Malatya province.

A statement released by the military confirmed the deaths.

A military official speaking on condition of anonymity told Reuters the CASA CN-235 cargo plane suffered a technical malfunction as it flew from the southeastern city of Diyarbakir to the capital Ankara.

The CN-235

CNN Turk reported that the pilot lost control of the aircraft at 5,000 metres (17,000 feet) and fell into a steep dive, crashing into a field at 1:15 pm local time (1015 GMT) about 650 kilometres (400 miles) southeast of Ankara.

Witnesses in Malatya said they saw the plane explode and fall from the sky in flames. The military had no immediate details on an explosion.

Bayram Karaaslan, the mayor of Akcadag, a town near the crash site plane, said there were no survivors. "We can only collect corpses now."

Karaaslan said the destruction was total with debris scattered over about 400 metres (1,200 feet).

"It does not look like a plane," said the mayor.

NTV television reported that rescue teams have so far recovered the bodies of 18 people, adding that authorities are still searching for the plane's black box.

Diyarbakir is the largest city in overwhelmingly Kurdish southeastern Turkey where rebels have been battling for autonomy for 15 years.

There has been no suggestion of a link between this and the plane crash.

Wednesday's crash was the worst air disaster in Turkey since 1994, when 57 people died in a Turkish Airlines crash.

• CASA aircraft
• CNN Turk

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