Search suspended because of darkness, three crew members missing after crash

Friday - 5/3/2013, 5:11pm EDT

CHALDOVAR, Kyrgyzstan (AP) -- The search for three crew members of an American military refueling plane has been suspended for the night.

The plane crashed today in the rugged mountains of the Central Asian nation of Kyrgyzstan (KEER'-gih-stan) -- a country where the U.S. operates an air base to help its war effort in Afghanistan. There's no word on the fate of the crew.

Pieces of the plane were left scattered across a grassy field bordered by mountains.

A U.S. defense official in Washington says the plane was on a refueling mission for war operations in Afghanistan at the time of the crash.

According to an official in Kyrgyzstan, the front section of the plane hasn't yet been found. The rest of the aircraft was badly burned in the crash.

He says the search for the crew will resume tomorrow morning. The crash site will remain under guard.

%@AP Links

178-a-09-(George Little, Pentagon press secretary, with reporters)-"crew is unknown"-Pentagon Press Secretary George Little says the military is investigating a plane crash in Central Asia. ((longer verson of cut in wrap)) ((watch for dating)) (3 May 2013)

<> 00:09 "crew is unknown"

177-w-30-(Sagar Meghani (SAH'-gur meh-GAH'-nee), AP national security correspondent, with Pentagon Press Secretary George Little)--An American military refueling plane carrying three crew members has gone down in Central Asia. AP National Security Correspondent Sagar Meghani reports from the Pentagon. (3 May 2013)

<> 00:30

156-v-26-(Sagar Meghani (SAH'-gur meh-GAH'-nee), AP national security correspondent)--A U.S. military aircraft has crashed in central Asia. AP National Security Correspondent Sagar Meghani reports from the Pentagon. (3 May 2013)

<> 00:26

GRAPHICSBANK: US Air Force KC-135 Stratotanker from the 22nd Expeditionary Air Refueling Squadron takes off from the Transit Center at Manas, Kyrgyzstan, US Air Force photo (3 May 2013)

APPHOTO XAZ111: Wreckage from a U.S. Air Force KC-135 tanker aircraft wreckage is strewn across a field near the village of Chaldovar, about 100 miles (160 kms) west of the Kyrgyz capital Bishkek, Friday, May 3, 2013. The emergencies ministry in Kyrgyzstan says a US military plane has crashed in the country. Kyrgyzstan hosts a US base that is used for troops transiting into and out of Afghanistan and for C-135 tanker planes that refuel warplanes in flight. (AP Photo/Vladimir Voronin) (3 May 2013)


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