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Bodies of 3 U.S. crew found in Kyrgyzstan

| Saturday, May 4, 2013, 9:36 p.m.

BISHKEK, Kyrgyzstan — Search teams on Saturday found the bodies of three American crew members near where their military refueling plane crashed in the rugged mountains of Kyrgyzstan, the emergencies minister of the Central Asian nation said.

The KC-135 plane crashed on Friday afternoon about 100 miles west of the air base that the United States operates in Kyrgyzstan to support military operations in Afghanistan.

Officials at the U.S. Transit Center at the Manas base have released no information yet on the cause of the crash and could not immediately be reached on Saturday for any further information.

Emergencies Minister Kubatbek Boronov told The Associated Press that Kyrgyz search teams found the fragmented bodies and that they have not been identified. He said the Kyrgyz rescuers were working with U.S. military personnel from Manas to search for the flight recorders.

Parts of the plane were scattered across a wide area near the village of Chaldovar. Some pieces, including the tail, came down in a grassy valley bordered by steep mountains, but others landed in spots much more difficult for search teams to reach.

The plane was on a refueling mission for Afghanistan war operations at the time of the crash, a Defense official in Washington said, speaking anonymously because he was not authorized to discuss the details of the investigation.

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