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Kuwait: USAF Mishap Kills 3

Three soldiers were killed and 16 slightly injured when a U.S. Air Force transport plane made an emergency landing without landing gear at Kuwait International Airport Friday, a Kuwaiti official said.

Confirming the incident, a U.S. embassy statement said, Â"The aircraft was damaged upon landing. There are three fatalities and a number of passengers injured who have been taken to local hospitals.Â"

The C-130, from the 61st Aircraft Squadron, Little Rock Air Force Base, Arkansas, was on an internal, routine mission in Kuwait when its landing gear malfunctioned. It diverted to the country's only international airport where it crash-landed.

A Kuwaiti official said there were 96 people on board the plane.

The C-130 was carrying troops to locations throughout Kuwait at the time of the incident, Air Force officials in Washington said.

The crew declared an in-flight emergency and diverted to Kuwait's airport.

Â"Air Force and U.S. Embassy officials credit the Kuwaiti emergency response crew with greatly reducing the severity of the incident through rapid preparation of the runway for the landing,Â" said the embassy statement. Â"A board of officers has convened to investigate the incident.Â"

The victimsÂ' identities were not immediately released.

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