At least 35 people, including 6 children and 4 pilots were killed and 10 others were injured on Monday when a Turkish Airlines cargo plane crashed near Kyrgyzstan’s main airport after attempting to land in thick fog. 1 of the 5 flight crew members survived the incident and one of the 4 killed pilots body is yet to be found.
The aircraft on a flight from Hong-Kong to Bishkek crashed during a landing approach due to bad weather conditions at 7:31 local time (01:31 GMT). The Bishkek airport authorities said the cargo plane Boeing 747 flight 6491, which belongs to ACT Airlines, crashed into a village of Dacha-Suu, Sokuluk district near the Manas International Airport. According to the airport administration, the plane was supposed to make a stopover at Manas, near the capital city Bishkek, on its way.
The majority of the dead were from the Dacha-Suu village, a spokesman for the country’s emergency services, Muhammed Svarov said. He said that the total number of dead “could be bigger.”
“The plane crashed into the houses, it killed entire families,” one eyewitness told AFP, speaking on condition of anonymity. There’s nothing left of the houses; people were killed with their whole family, their children. Many people were sleeping.”
Around 43 houses have been damaged by the crash, according to the emergency services ministry, which said that the crash caused fires that have now been localized.
Authorities had launched a huge search operation. “Major work is underway,” Svarov said. “The damage to infrastructure in the village is significant.”
The injured have been hospitalized to Bishkek health care institutions. 14 ambulance crews, including 56 doctors and psychologists, are working at the crash scene.
The cause of the plane crash near Manas airport is still unknown. Minister of Transport and Roads Zhamshit Kalilov informed 24.kg news agency about the preliminary cause of the crash. According to him, the Turkish Airlines plane failed to follow Manas airport runway.
The Manas airport has been closed and flights cancelled until evening at the earliest, airport authorities said. In addition, all access to Manas were blocked.
“Our condolences to the families of those who have lost their lives in the tragic incident involving an ACT Airlines aircraft in Kyrgyzstan,” Turkish Airlines said on its Twitter account.
Deputy Prime Minister Moukhammetkali Aboulgaziev visited the scene, accompanied by the Ministers of Emergency Situations and Transport. Kyrgyz President Almazbek Atambayev cancelled his visit to China to return to Bishkek.
Mufti of Kyrgyzstan Maksat azhi Toktomushev on behalf of the Spiritual Directorate of the Muslims of Kyrgyzstan and from himself personally expressed condolences to the families of those killed in the village of Dacha-Suu, Sokuluk district in a plane crash near Manas airport.