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3 bodies found in wreckage of U.S. plane in Afghanistan

October 27, 2009

KABUL (AP) -- NATO-led forces have recovered the remains of three American crew from the wreckage of a U.S. Army reconnaissance plane that crashed two weeks ago in the rugged mountains of northeastern Afghanistan, the military said.

The Army C-12 Huron twin-engine turboprop had been missing since it crashed Oct. 13 while on a routine mission in Nuristan province, a stronghold of Taliban insurgents.

NATO said in a statement the incident is "under investigation, though hostile action is not believed to be the cause of the crash."

Thomas Casey, a spokesman for Lockheed Martin Corp., confirmed all three of the dead were American citizens.

U.S. forces spokesman Col. Wayne Shanks said the crew were the only ones aboard when the craft went down without giving off any distress signals.

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"We just lost contact," Shanks told The Associated Press.

Shanks said the plane was on a mission for NATO-led forces at the time, but he gave no other details.

The military said a UH-60 helicopter traveling to the crash site four days later "experienced a strong downdraft and performed a hard landing" nearby. The helicopter's crew members were rescued, and the chopper was stripped of sensitive and useable parts and destroyed to keep insurgents from salvaging anything in the wreckage.

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