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13 killed as crippled plane ditches in Med.

AT least 13 people died when an aircraft crashed off the coast of Sicily as it attempted an emergency landing yesterday.

A further three of the 39 passengers on the Tunisian airliner were missing in the sea, Italian officials said.

Some of the survivors clung to the wings in rough seas about 10 miles off the Sicilian coast as rescuers rushed to their aid.

The pilot of the plane flying from Bari, Italy, to the Tunisian resort of Djerba contacted airport officialsat 3.24pm reporting engine trouble and asked for permission to make an emergency landing in Palermo.

Sixteen minutes later, the pilot told tower officials: ``We're ditching in the sea.''

Tunisian officials said all the passengers were Italian.

Palermo Prosecutor Piero Grasso, who is helping investigate the crash, said: ``There are no bodies in the wreckage. We can rule out terrorism.''

Nine of the survivors were in serious condition

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Rescue: One of the 23 survivors is helped to safety
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Publication:Sunday Mail (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Aug 7, 2005
Words:162
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