Five dead in Ukrainian plane fire at Luxor airport

Other News Materials 20 February 2009 14:45 (UTC +04:00)

Five crew members died when their Ukrainian cargo aircraft caught fire on the tarmac at Luxor airport in southern Egypt Friday, local aviation authorities have said, dpa reported.

The cargo plane had been en-route to Ukraine from Uganda and had landed at Egypt's Luxor airport to be refuelled. It caught fire at the end of the runway while preparing for take-off, the Egyptians sources said.

Four of the crew were Belarusian nationals, and one was a Ukrainian national, officials from Ukraine's Ministry of Foreign Affairs said.

One of the Antonov aircraft's engines caught fire during take off, and the plane crashed shortly after 4 am (0200 GMT) after lifting off the ground but failing to reach altitude, Ukrainian diplomats said, contradicting Egyptian reports the plane never became airborne.

The South African air transport company Aerolift was the plane's operator, the Interfax news agency reported.

Egyptian Minister of Civil Aviation Ahmed Shafiq hurried to Luxor airport as investigations began, to determine the circumstances of the accident.

The Antonov-12 is a four-engine military cargo turboprop designed in the Soviet Union in the late 1950s.

The An-12 operated by Aerolift had been manufactured in Russia, Interfax reported.