Passenger plane crashes in Almaty

Kazakhstan's Interior Ministry (c)
Kazakhstan's Interior Ministry (c)

A Bek Air plane with 100 people on board crashes after take off near Kazakhstan's Almaty airport this morning.

The aircraft lost altitude after take-off and crashed into a two-story building at 7:22 a.m. local time (01:22 GMT). There were 95 passengers and five crewmembers onboard the plane.  

The death toll from the plane crash has climbed to 15, an official said at a briefing at Almaty’s airport broadcast live on Facebook.

"Fourteen people died at the scene. One person died in the hospital," head of the Public Healthcare Department Tleukhan Abildaev said.

Medical assistance has been provided to 60 passengers who had survived the crash, the Almaty airport’s administration reported earlier.

The press service of Kazakhstan’s Interior Ministry reported that rescuers have taken to the hospitals 24 people following the crash.

"According to preliminary data, 24 people were injured and taken to the hospitals. The identity of 7 of those killed in the accident has been established," TASS cited the press service as saying.

Almaty International Airport is working as usual, there are no changes in the flight schedule because of the plane crash, it said.

There was nobody inside the building that a Bek Air plane collided with, Deputy Director of the Almaty Department for Emergency Situations Yerlan Alibekov informed.

"The plane’s fuselage collided with a residential house under construction. Fortunately, there was nobody inside the building. Currently, there is no one inside the plane," he added.

Alibekov informed that the rescue operation is now finished. He noted that foam equipment was deployed at the scene in case of fire or explosion; however, the plane did not explode.

The Bek Air fleet consists of Fokker 100 planes. Until the reasons of the crash are established, use of other aircraft of this type has been temporarily suspended. A governmental commission has been set up to investigate the reasons of the crash.

Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev pledged to provide families of the victims with compensation and tweeted that those responsible "will be severely punished in accordance with the law." Tokayev also said that a government commission had been set up to investigate the circumstances surrounding the tragedy.

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