May 20th, 2010
08:31 AM ET

Part found from Afghan plane crash

Kabul, Afghanistan - A satellite has spotted part of the plane that crashed in the mountains of Afghanistan with 44 people aboard, an official with the country's Transport and Aviation Ministry said Thursday.

Raz Mohammad Alami, the deputy chief of the Transport and Civil Aviation Ministry, said the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) informed the ministry that a part of the Pamir Airways plane had been found.

An investigation is underway, he said.

The Pamir Airways plane was carrying 38 passengers and six crew members when it crashed en route from Kunduz to Kabul on Monday. Several non-Afghans, including at least three Britons, were on the plane, officials said.

In a statement of condolence Thursday, the Ministry of Defense indicated high-ranking officials were aboard the plane. It said it had ordered the air force to help transport the victims' bodies back to their provinces.

The plane crashed near the Salang Pass, north of Kabul, Basharay said. A meteorological agency reported hearing a huge sound there, and the government's minister of transport and aviation and his deputy went to investigate.

While several plane crashes have occurred in Afghanistan in the past few years - most of them military aircraft - the last crash with fatalities occurred in September 2006, when a British Royal Air Force plane crashed about 12.5 miles (20 km) west of Kandahar, according to the Web site of the Aviation Safety Network, which maintains a database of crashes. Fourteen people were killed in that crash.

In 2005, 104 people were killed when Kam Air flight 904 struck a mountain while approaching Kabul in poor visibility, according to the network.

- Journalist Matiullah Mati contributed to this report

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