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Indian among seven killed in Iraq plane crash

world Updated: Nov 16, 2008 15:57 IST

PTI
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An Indian national working for a Dubai-based aviation firm was among seven persons killed when a Soviet-built civilian cargo plane crashed near the Iraqi city of Fallujah.

"According to available information, on November 13 an An-12 cargo aircraft owned by British Gulf International Co Ltd crashed near the city of Fallujah to the west of Baghdad," the Russian Foreign Ministry said.

Six crew and a passenger died, including one Indian and three Russian nationals, it said.

The Indian victim was identified as Jaychandran Appukutten (44), who was working for Dubai-based Falcon Aviation Group, which was transporting cargo on the plane, 'The National' newspaper of UAE reported on Sunday.

According to media reports, the plane took off from Al Asad air base near Fallujah, in Anbar province, on Thursday morning and lost radio contact at 10.45 am and was believed to have crashed within an hour.

"It looks like everybody was lost," a US military spokesman, Capt Charles Calio, was quoted as saying. He added that hostile fire had been ruled out as the cause of the accident. The US military said the likely cause was mechanical failure or pilot error, although Capt Calio added that this was for the investigation to determine.

Friends of Appukutten, the father of two, said the family was still waiting for any news of his body. "We know that the flight has been located but not the bodies. We do not know what caused the accident. The family is shattered by the news," a friend, who chose to remain anonymous, told the newspaper.

British Gulf International is a Russian-owned air cargo transportation company with its headquarters at Sharjah.