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No Survivors Found Amid Afghan Plane Wreckage

Search teams Friday reached the remote mountain site where a commercial airliner crashed this week and found no sign of survivors among the 44 people aboard, Afghanistan's aviation minister said.

The Antonov-24 operated by Pamir Airways disappeared Monday on a flight from Kunduz to Kabul. The wreckage was spotted Thursday by a search plane on a 13,500-foot mountain in Shakar Darah district north of Kabul.

Aviation Minister Mohammadullah Batash told The Associated Press that searchers reached the site Friday but found no sign of survivors.

Three Britons and one American were among eight foreign passengers on the plane along with nationals from Pakistan and Australia, according to chief aviation investigator Ghulam Farooq. He did not have precise numbers for Australian and Pakistani passengers.

Russia's Itar-Tass news agency said three Tajikistan citizens working for the airline were also aboard, possibly among the crew.

Photos supplied by NATO forces show the plane broken into four pieces and strewn across a steep mountainside about 24 miles north of Kabul. Bad weather and the rugged mountain terrain hampered the search.

Kabul-based Pamir Airways, named after the Pamir mountain range of Central Asia, began operations in 1995. It has daily flights to major Afghan cities and flies to Dubai and Saudi Arabia for the hajj pilgrimage.

Pamir's chief executive officer, Amanullah Hamid, said the plane was last inspected about three months ago in Bulgaria. The An-24 is a medium-range twin-turboprop civil aircraft built in the former Soviet Union from 1950 to 1978. A modernized version is still made in China.

It is widely used by airlines in the developing world due to its rugged design, ease of maintenance and low operating costs.