Thursday, January 24, 2008

20 killed in Polish plane crash

WARSAW, Poland (AP) -- A military plane crash in northwestern Poland has killed 20 people, Poland's prime minister said early Thursday.

Prime Minister Donald Tusk said the plane crash, which occurred Wednesday evening as the plane was about to land, killed 20 people, including one brigadier general and four crew members.

"Soldiers, husbands and fathers have died, and that is the most tragic result of this catastrophe," Tusk said.

The air force plane carrying 16 passengers and four crew members was approaching an air force airstrip at Miroslawiec shortly after 7 p.m. (1800 GMT) when it crashed in a forested area.

The passengers were military officers who had been attending a flight safety conference in Warsaw.

Officials said it was the first accident in Poland involving a CASA transporter, which is generally considered an extremely reliable aircraft.

The airplane took off from Warsaw and was scheduled to make stops in three cities before returning to its home base in Krakow. It crashed before reaching its second destination.

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