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U.S. Military Plane Crashes in Kyrgyzstan

A Boeing 707 jet used by the U.S. military for midair refueling has crashed near the border between Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan, Russian news agencies are reporting.

Rescue teams from the U.S. air base outside the Kyrgyz capital, Bishkek, and the Kyrgyz Emergency Situations Ministry were en route to the crash site. Other rescuers were already at the site, where the wreckage was still burning.

It was not immediately clear how many people had been on board the plane.

Eyewitnesses told  news agencies about seeing the plane catch fire and explode in the sky, breaking into two or three parts before falling to the earth.

No one on the ground was believed to have been injured.

A search for survivors was under way.

An Emergency Situations Ministry official told Itar-Tass that hopes were high that the crew had managed to bail out of the plane before it struck the ground.

The plane had taken off from the Manas Airport, where the U.S. military has a hub that it uses for its operations in Afghanistan, Interfax reported. It vanished from radar screens around 3:10 p.m.

The U.S. military declined immediate comment.

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