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Greece's deputy foreign minister and five others were killed late Tuesday when their executive jet hit heavy turbulence and plummeted thousands of feet before leveling off, officials said.

Deputy Foreign Minister Yiannos Kranidiotis; his 23-year-old son, Nikos; and four others were killed, Romanian Transport Minister Traian Basescu said. Three others were hospitalized while the four others aboard were not injured.

The pilot and co-pilot were among those unhurt and were able to land the government-owned Falcon executive jet in Bucharest, Basescu said.

The cause of the deaths wasn't immediately clear. Romanian television reports said Kranidiotis and the others possibly suffocated or suffered heart attacks after their aircraft suddenly depressurized as it dropped to 4,000 feet from 23,000 feet before leveling off.

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