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Plane taking fans to Shakhtar game crashes, kills at least 5

Photo: /Reuters

A worker operates a crane near the damaged Antonov 24 turboprop plane near the airport in Donetsk, Ukraine.

At least five people were killed when a plane carrying supporters to a European soccer match in eastern Ukraine overshot the runway and broke up when it attempted an emergency landing late on Wednesday, officials said.

The twin-engined Antonov turboprop was bringing 45 passengers and crew on a charter flight from the Black Sea coastal city of Odessa to Donetsk - most of them fans looking forward to attending a Champions League clash between the Ukrainian home team Shakhtar and Germany's Borussia Dortmund.

The emergencies ministry, quoted by Interfax news agency, said the aircraft overshot the landing strip at Donetsk airport which an eyewitness said was shrouded in thick fog at the time. It overturned and broke up.

Apart from the five people confirmed dead, 12 others had been injured, the ministry said.

Andriy Shyshatsky, head of Donetsk's regional administration speaking before a fifth dead was confirmed, said the majority of passengers had been saved.

"One person is visible in the wreckage, but we don't yet know whether he is alive or not. We are searching for one other person," Shyshatsky told journalists.

An airport source quoted by Interfax said a stewardess who had been at the rear of the plane was unaccounted for.

A minute of silence was observed for the dead at the start of the Champions League match.

There was no immediate word on why the flight crew had had to make an emergency landing. But a survivor of the crash, quoted by Interfax, said there had been a fire on board which had been brought under control.

This was not immediately confirmed by officials.

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