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Spanish Troop Plane Crashes in Turkey; 75 Dead - 2003-05-27


An airplane carrying Spanish peacekeepers back from Afghanistan has crashed into a fog-covered mountain in northeastern Turkey, killing all 75 people aboard.

The Ukrainian (Yak-42) plane was flying from Kabul, Afghanistan to Zaragoza, Spain when it crashed Monday near Turkey's Black Sea city of Trabzon. It went down in thick fog while trying to make a refueling stop.

Sixty-two members of the Spanish military and 13 crew members were on board.

Spain's Defense Ministry says the dense fog is to blame for the accident, while Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma has instructed his government to investigate the crash.

The plane, believed to have gone down on its third attempt to land, broke apart on impact. Spanish Defense Minister Federico Trillo and a group of Spanish accident investigators toured the scene, where smoldering wreckage lay scattered across a wide area.

The crash prompted expressions of sympathy from NATO, President Bush, the Afghan Foreign Ministry, the commander of the international peacekeepers in Afghanistan, and Pope John Paul.

France, Germany, Portugal and Italy also offered condolences.

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