Tunisia: 11 Libyans dead in medical plane crash

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TUNIS, Tunisia (AP) -- A medical flight from Libya crashed in a field near Tunis in the early hours of Friday morning, killing all 11 Libyans on board, Tunisia's civil defense said.

The plane went down at 1:45 a.m. in a sparsely inhabited farming area in the Grombalia region, some 40 kilometers (25 miles) southeast of Tunis, the capital, and burst into flames. Army units and civil protection services rushed to the scene to put out the fire and extract bodies.

Monji Kahdi, the civil defense spokesman, confirmed there were 11 people on board the Antonov 26 aircraft, which flew from Tripoli's Mitiga airport.

Libyan Transportation Minister Abdelkader Mohammed Ahmed told journalists in Tripoli that the plane carried two people seeking treatment in Tunisia accompanied by three others as well as a doctor, a nurse and the four crew members. A plane will be dispatched to bring back their bodies.

Amateur video showed images of the broken, burned aircraft with its tail bearing Libyan colors.

Defense spokesman Tawfik Rahmouni told the state news agency that the crew had been in contact with Tunis-Carthage airport to say the plane's engines had caught fire before communication was lost. Investigators recovered the black box.