Kyrgyz and U.S. officials on Friday announced an American military refueling plane took off and crashed in Kyrgyzstan on Friday.
An official in Kyrgyz Emergencies Ministry, Bolot Sharshenaliev said at least three people were on board however another official earlier said that there were five people.
The C-130 American refuelling plane fell in the northern Chuy province at around 2:55 pm local time (0855 GMT), the emergency ministry said. There was no immediate word on any casualties.
Kyrgyzstan hosts a U.S. base that is used for flying troops into and out of Afghanistan and for KC-135 tanker planes that refuel warplanes in flight.
The emergency situations minister Kubatbek Boronov quoted by AFP said, “The plane definitely belongs to the US transit centre. On board were three crew members. Their fate is unknown.”
“I cannot exclude that the three American pilots could have died, being burnt up alive in the explosion,” he said, adding that the search operation would continue at least until nightfall.
The Manas airbase is key to US military operations in Afghanistan, used to ferry troops into the country, refuel warplanes and evacuate wounded soldiers.