A United States military plane has disappeared from radar and is believed to have crashed on the Kazakhstan-Kyrgyzstan border after taking off from a U.S. airforce base in Kyrgyzstan.
Interfax news agency reports the Kyrgyz Emergencies ministry says the plane left the U.S. Transit Center at Manas airport in Bishkek en route to Afghanistan.
According to the US Embassy Bishkek website, “The Transit Center at Manas International Airport is a transportation and logistics hub established to support international efforts to bring peace and stability to Afghanistan.” Kyrgyzstan hosts U.S. and other forces at the base.
“(The plane) disappeared from the radar screen. It is a military fuel transporter C-135,” a ministry source told Reuters.
The Boeing KC-135, a massive air-to-air refueling tanker, reportedly broke into three parts, the ministry’s press secretary, Abdisharip Bekilov, reportedly told the AFP news agency. Eyewitnesses living in Panfilov and Jayilskiy areas reported the AKI Press that they heard a buzz and then an explosion, and the aircraft continues to burn.
According to Reuters, the plane disappeared near the Kyrgyz village of Chaldovar, 55 miles from the base, which U.S. forces maintain for operations in Afghanistan.
The emergency situations ministry told AFP that preliminary information showed the KC-135 plane lost contact with the base as soon as it took off.