Remains of Azerbaijani Il-76 pilots found in Afghanistan.

22/7 Tass 390

BAKU, July 22 (Itar-Tass) —— The remains of crewmembers of the Ilyushin Il-76 cargo jet of the Azerbaijani private airline Silk Way, which crashed in Afghanistan in the small morning hours of July 6, have been found, the local media said on Friday with the reference to the Azerbaijani embassy in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Information about the crashed plane had been contradictory until Thursday. Head of the commission investigating the crash, Azerbaijani Airlines Vice-President Ilham Amirov told a press conference in Baku he doubted the possibility to find the remains of the pilots. In his words, the jet exploded, caught fire and kept burning for two hours. Attempts to reach the crash site had been unsuccessful because of clashes between the Taliban and governmental forces in that area. However, following two memos of the Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry, the Afghan Interior Ministry held an operation to transport the pilots’ remains to Kabul.

“The remains are being kept at the Kabul hospital. They will be sent to Azerbaijan when the formalities are done,” the embassy said.

The plane had nine people onboard, among them five citizens of Azerbaijan and four of Uzbekistan. They were transporting 18 tonnes of humanitarian cargo from Afghanistan. The jet disappeared from radar screens on the approaches to the Bagram airport. Some said the plane was shot down by the Taliban, while others claimed it hit the mountain in the dark. Silk Way, the owner of the aircraft, denied suggestions that the plane might have been out of order. It was built in 2006 and had the latest check in June 2011. No defects were exposed.

Uzbekistan temporarily retrieved its citizens working for Silk Way after the air crash.

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