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More Than 30 Reported Dead In Uzbek Plane Crash

Tashkent, 13 January 2004 (RFE/RL) -- News reports say more than 30 people died aboard a Soviet-built Yak-40 plane that crashed today near the Uzbek capital Tashkent.

A Reuters correspondent quoted an unnamed security officer who said: "There were more then 30 people on board. Everyone is dead." An RFE/RL correspondent said police also told him that all aboard the plane are believed to be dead.

A correspondent with the Associated Press quoted an airport employee in Tashkent as saying 32 passengers and five crew members were aboard the plane.

A police officer said, "The plane crashed on the runway and exploded."

Uzbek Prime Minister Shavkat Mirziyaev arrived at the airport and met with people waiting for the plane's arrival. Mirziyaev made no public comments.

The Yak-40 is commonly used on short runs in the former Soviet republics. It also serves frequently as an executive jet.