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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

22 Bodies Found From Il-76 Crash

Rescue workers Thursday found the bodies of all but one of the 23 victims of the military cargo plane crash in central Siberia the previous night, officials said.


The Russian Ilyushin-76 slammed into a snow-covered mountain and exploded seven minutes after taking off late Wednesday night from the city of Abakan, 4,000 kilometers east of Moscow.


The reason for the crash was not yet known.


An air force official said it appeared unlikely it was caused by overloading, as was suggested by some reports.


But he acknowledged the plane was carrying commercial cargo in order to pay for its crew's training.


"We have to carry commercial cargo to maintain our crews' flying skills because we are short of funds to buy enough fuel for flight training,'' said Lieutenant General Vladimir Ustinov, chief of staff of Russia's Military Transport Aviation.


The Il-76's crew was expanded to 13 instead of the usual seven to train young crew members.


But its pilots were experienced enough and previously had made flights along the same route, he told NTV Independent Television.


Ustinov wouldn't speculate on a cause pending the study of the aircraft's flight parameters and cockpit conversation recorders.