.
.
.
.

Libyan plane crashes in Tunisia, kills 11

A Libyan army medical plane crashed south of Tunis early on Friday, killing all 11 people on board

Published: Updated:

At least 11 people were killed after a Libyan army medical plane crashed south of the Tunisian capital early on Friday after an engine failure, Tunisian officials said.

The Antonov aircraft went down after the pilot tried to land in farmland near Grombalia town south of Tunis, the TAP state news agency reported.

“The plane crashed at 1:30 am (0030 GMT)... with 11 people on board -- three doctors, two patients and six crew members,” said Mongi El Kadhi, spokesman for the Tunisian emergency services.

There were no survivors from the accident, he added.

“The whole plane was completely burnt out. The emergency services went to the crash site and recovered the charred bodies.”

Shortly before the plane disappeared from radar screens, the pilot radioed the control tower at Tunis airport to say an engine had failed, emergency services told an AFP journalist at the crash site.

The aircraft crashed in a field on the edge of the village of Nianou but managed to avoid any houses, the journalist reported.

Six crew members, as well as the patients and their companions died, a spokesman for Tunisia's defense ministry said. Libyans often travel to Tunisia for medical treatment.

At daybreak, teams began searching for the aircraft's black box flight recorders in a bid to establish the cause of the crash.

It was the second crash involving a military plane in North Africa in two weeks. An Algerian military transport plane crashed into a mountain in bad weather on Feb. 11, killing 77 people, in the country's worst air disaster in a decade.

(With AFP and Reuters)