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Wreckage of Afghan plane crash found

By the CNN Wire Staff
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: ISAF, Afghan National Army Corps find wreckage from the plane
  • 44 people were on plane that crashed Monday
  • Plane went down near Salang Pass, north of Kabul
  • Last crash with fatalities in Afghanistan was in 2006
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Kabul, Afghanistan (CNN) -- Aircrews from the Afghan National Army Air Corps and from the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force have found the wreckage of the plane that crashed Monday with 44 people aboard, ISAF said Thursday.

The crash site is at 13,500 feet (4,100 meters) in the Shakar Darah district of Kabul province, ISAF said. Afghan authorities, supported by ISAF, are now making plans for a recovery operation taking into account the elevation and rugged terrain, ISAF said.

The crash site was initially observed late Wednesday and confirmed Thursday, ISAF said. Afghan authorities earlier reported that a satellite had spotted part of the Antonov plane in mountains near the Salang Pass, north of Kabul.

The Pamir Airways plane was carrying 38 passengers and six crew members when it crashed en route from Kunduz to Kabul on Monday. Several non-Afghans, including at least three Britons, were on the plane, officials said.

In a statement of condolence Thursday, the Afghan Ministry of Defense indicated high-ranking officials were aboard the plane. It said it had ordered the air force to help transport the victims' bodies back to their provinces.

At the time of the crash, a meteorological agency reported hearing a huge sound in the area of the crash, and the government's minister of transport and aviation and his deputy went to investigate.

While several plane crashes have occurred in Afghanistan in the past few years -- most of them military aircraft -- the last crash with fatalities occurred in September 2006, when a British Royal Air Force plane crashed about 12.5 miles (20 km) west of Kandahar, according to the web site of the Aviation Safety Network, which maintains a database of crashes. Fourteen people were killed in that crash.

In 2005, 104 people were killed when Kam Air flight 904 struck a mountain while approaching Kabul in poor visibility, according to the network.

Journalist Matiullah Mati contributed to this report