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Black Boxes Found Amid US Refueling Plane Debris in Kyrgyzstan

RIA Novosti

13:53 20/05/2013

BISHKEK, May 20 (RIA Novosti) - Flight recorders from a US military plane that crashed in northern Kyrgyzstan in early May have been found, the republic's Transport and Communication Ministry said on Monday.

The Boeing KC-135 aerial refueling tanker, carrying three American crewmembers, crashed into a mountain gorge on May 3 some 60 kilometers (36 miles) west of the capital Bishkek about 10 minutes after taking off from the US Transit Center at Manas, Bishkek's international airport.

"Flight recorders from the KC-135 were identified among crash site debris during transportation, and have been handed over to the Americans for analysis," the ministry spokesman said. He added that DNA tests have confirmed that the remains of all three crewmembers have been found.

"In connection with this, all search operations at the crash site have been terminated," the spokesman said.

The plane could have had 90 tons on fuel on board when it exploded at an altitude of about 6,600 meters. The resulting debris scattered over several kilometers of land.

Local residents are concerned that some of the fuel might have contaminated the environment near the crash site.

"We still do not know how much fuel on board the plane burned and how much went into the rivers. Samples have been taken for analysis, but we have not had the results yet," local green party coordinator Chynara Bekboyeva said.

The Kyrgyz government, which set up a special commission, has said it will estimate the damages caused by the crash.

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