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Bodies Found in Crash off UAE Coast

July 14, 1998

RAS AL-KHAIMAH, United Arab Emirates (AP) _ A Ukrainian cargo plane crashed into the sea when its engine caught fire shortly after takeoff, aviation officials said today. All eight aboard were believed killed.

Divers recovered body parts belonging to six of the crew members today, the coast guard reported.

The four-engine Ilyushin-76 was owned by Ukraine’s Defense Ministry and was on lease to a private Kiev-based cargo airline, A.T.I. Aircompany, the Ukrainian Emergency Situations Ministry said.

Officials said the plane was carrying 40 tons of unspecified cargo when it took off Monday night from the Gulf emirate of Ras Al-Khaimah to Mykolayiv in southern Ukraine.

Russia’s Interfax news agency said the cargo was not dangerous, and a witness reported seeing watermelons floating in the sea after the crash.

A.T.I. officials in Kiev would not comment on the crash. Stu Carrie, manager of Ras Al-Khaimah airport, said the plane was about 15 years old.

Officials at the Emergency Situations Ministry, who spoke on customary condition of anonymity, said the pilot attempted a sea landing after an engine caught fire.

Mohammad Hussein, a businessman who was the terrace of a beachfront hotel at the time of the crash, said he saw the plane catch fire and explode before plunging into the sea 500 yards from shore. Hundreds of watermelons were floating in the sea after the crash, he said.

In the states of the former Soviet Union, it is not uncommon for private companies to charter military planes for cargo flights, and the Emirates has a flourishing trade with the region.

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