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22 Feared Dead in Plane Crash

Cambodian aviation officials said late Monday they feared a chartered plane carrying at least 22 people crashed Monday in the mountains near Sihanoukville.

No information on casualties was immediately available, but authorities said a Russian-made AN-24 carrying passengers from Siem Reap to the coastal town disappeared from radar near Kom Chhay Mountain.

In Chiva, a provincial police chief, told the Associated Press that conservation workers on a nearby mountain reported seeing a plane crash.

Authorities suspect the plane crashed, killing all aboard.

The National Committee for Disaster Management was directing a search and rescue operation late Monday, but officials declined to elaborate.

A military commander in Kampot province initially tried to dispatch a unit of parachutists to the area, but poor weather prevented such a search, aviation authorities told VOA Khmer.

On board were five Cambodians, 13 South Koreans, three Czechs and a Russian.

Sihanoukville's airport opened in January, hoping to lure tourists from Siem Reap and Angkor Wat to Cambodia's beaches.