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Warplane crashes in Yemen's capital, 9 killed

Updated: 2013-02-19 22:24
( Xinhua)

SANAA - A Yemeni military helicopter on a training mission crashed in a crowded neighborhood in Central capital Sanaa on Tuesday, leaving at least nine people dead and 23 others injured, local officials and witnesses said.

Officials at the operation room of the Yemeni Air Force Base confirmed to Xinhua that a military helicopter crashed near the Sanaa University in downtown the capital, where thousands of protesters against former President Ali Abdullah Saleh have been camping for nearly two years.

Warplane crashes in Yemen's capital, 9 killed

Policemen collect wreckage of the crashed plane in Sanaa, Yemen, Feb 19, 2013. [Photo/Xinhua]

One of the officials told Xinhua that the crashed helicopter was a "Russian-made Sokhoi".

Medical sources said only the pilot onboard the plane was killed and eight civilians, including two children and three women, on the ground were confirmed dead and another 23 injured as the plane damaged several buildings.

Another official at the air force base told Xinhua that a technical problem caused the crash and the president has ordered to launch investigation.

The plane which was on a training mission carried two missiles, he said, adding that one missile exploded during the crash.

The death toll may rise as the plane crashed in a crowed neighborhood.

Several ambulances and fire trucks have arrived at the site to transfer the injured to nearby hospitals and put out the fire as rescue efforts were still underway to search for possible survivors underneath the wreckage.  

Black smoke could be seen from several kilometers away.

It is the second plane crash in the capital in a few months after a Russian-made Antonov warplane crashed in Hassaba neighborhood in northern Sanaa on November 21, 2012.

The Russian-made warplane took off from the air force base in Sanaa, and one of its engines was broken technically when it was about 40 km away from the air force airport. The plane finally crashed in a deserted market in al-Hasaba neighborhood, leaving 10 people aboard killed.

On Oct 15, 2012, another military helicopter with a pilot onboard crashed near the Anad air base in Yemen's southern province of Lahj due to technical problems and the pilot died later from serious injuries.

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