CAIRO, February 20 (RIA Novosti) - A Ukrainian An-12 cargo plane burst into flames on Friday as it tried to take off in south Egypt killing five crew members, the Egyptian Civil Aviation Authority head was quoted as saying by the MENA news agency.
Emad Salam said the Ukrainian cargo plane, en route from Uganda, landed at Luxor airport in southern Egypt to refuel. As the plane was preparing for take off it suddenly burst into flames on the runway.
However, according to other sources, the plane took off to a height of two or three meters (6.5-10 feet) before bursting into flames.
The KyivPost reported that the plane belonged to the South African-based Aerolift Company.
An accident commission is being set up to investigate the cause of the fire and both the plane's black boxes have already been recovered, Egypt's Civil Aviation Minister Ahmed Shafiq said.
"Black boxes from the crashed plane have already been recovered, they will be sent to the lab of Egypt's aviation ministry," the minister was quoted as saying by the MENA news agency, adding that Luxor airport was not to blame for the tragedy.
A source in the airport administration said that the An-12 had been forced to land at Luxor due to a fuel leak. The crew was aware of the leak, the source said, but made the decision to take off despite the possible risk.
According to Russian diplomatic sources, one of the five crew members was a Russian national, the others were from Ukraine and Belarus. The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry has confirmed that the dead crew comprised one Russian, two Ukrainians and two Belarusians.
All the bodies have been recovered and taken to hospitals in Luxor.
Incoming and outgoing flights at Luxor International Airport have not been disrupted.