Russian Cargo Plane Crash Kills Nine in Western Siberia

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A Russian cargo plane crashed near a Siberian city Monday, killing all nine people aboard, an official said.

The An-12 cargo plane went down near the city of Chelyabinsk, some 1,000 miles east of Moscow, Emergency Situations Ministry spokeswoman Irina Andriyanova said.

The plane took off from the Chelyabinsk airport, and the crew reported a fire aboard minutes before the crash, she said.

She said all nine crew members died in the crash, just after 6 p.m. in the forest some 20 miles from the city. No casualties were reported on the ground.

Russian news agencies said the four-engine turboprop was flying without cargo to the city of Perm in the Ural Mountains and was operated by the private Moskovia carrier.

No one answered the telephone at Moskovia's offices after hours Monday.

The An-12 was designed in the 1950s and built in large numbers for use in both military and civilian transport.

Over 100 such planes are still in service in Russia and other nations.

Russia and the other former Soviet republics have some the world's worst air traffic safety records, according to the International Air Transport Association.

Experts have blamed weak government controls, poor pilot training and a cost-cutting mentality among many carriers that affects safety.