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7 die as Ukraine cargo plane crashes deep in Algerian Sahara

7 people were killed in cargo plane crash on Saturday in the Sahara dessert, according the Algeria's transport ministry
Algerian Transport Ministry said in a statement that local aviation authorities lost contact with the plane three minutes after takeoff from Tamanrasset (AFP)
A Ukrainian cargo plane crashed in the Sahara desert early on Saturday, killing all seven crewman on board, Algeria's transport ministry said. 

The Antonov 12, which had come from Glasgow in Scotland and was bound for Equatorial Guinea, came down near Tamanrasset airport at around 2:40 am (0140 GMT), a ministry statement said.

"Unfortunately, rescue teams did not find any survivors at the scene of the crash," the statement added.

The aircraft had been transporting petroleum industry equipment.

It had made a stopover for unspecified technical reasons at Tamanrasset, an Algerian city deep in the Sahara 2,000 kilometres (1,240 miles) south of Algiers.

Previously, it had made another technical stop at Ghardaia, 600 kilometres south of the capital.

The AlgerianTransport Ministry said in a statement that local aviation authorities lost contact with the plane three minutes after takeoff from Tamanrasset.

Rescuers found debris from the aircraft in a mountainous area, local officials said.

An inquiry into the crash has begun, Transport Minister Amar Ghoul said.

The deceased crew members include six Ukrainians and a Russian.

The cause of the crash is yet to be known.