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BISHKEK, May 8 (Itar-Tass) - The emergency workers of the Kyrgyz Ministry of Emergency Situations in the Chuy region of the republic have enlarged the search area for the flights recorders of a U.S. refuelling airplane KC-135, which crashed in the Panfilovsky district, the Kyrgyz Ministry of Emergency Situations told Itar-Tass on Wednesday. “After a two-day pause it was found that there are no flight recorders in the found fragments of the airplane,” the ministry stated. “According to the preliminary reports, there are no remains of the third crewman among the body fragments found at the air crash site,” the ministry reported. The search operation was resumed on Wednesday morning over this fact. Twenty emergency workers are working at the air crash site.
The refuelling airplane KC-135, which belongs to the Transit Centre, crashed at 14:55 local time (12:55 Moscow time) on May 3 several minutes after the takeoff at the Bishkek airport Manas. The debris of the airplane was found 80 kilometres west of the Kyrgyz capital near the villages Cholok-Aryk and Chorgolu near the border with Kazakhstan. The airplane KC-135 was on a flight towards Afghanistan and was carrying about 80-90 tonnes of aviation kerosene. The crew consisted of three pilots. The eyewitnesses testified that the airplane began to fall apart in the air and split in three parts after the collision with the ground. The debris of the airplane was scattered in a range of one kilometre from the air crash site. The witnesses of the air crash said that the fragments of the airplane kept on burning on the ground for a long period of time.
Before 2009 the Transit Centre, which is situated at the Bishkek airport Manas, was an airbase of the anti-terrorism coalition forces. The Transit Centre is intended to support Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan. The backbones of the airbase make the servicemen and aircraft of the U.S. Air Force. The refuelling airplanes from the Transit Centre make about a third of refuelling operations of warplanes in the skies over Afghanistan. Tens of thousands of coalition servicemen are dispatched in that country and back through Manas monthly.