At least 32 killed in Turkish cargo plane crash in Kyrgyzstan

BISHKEK -- A cargo plane owned by the ACT airlines crashed near the Manas international airport of Kyrgyzstan on Monday, killing at least 32 people, according to the country's Emergency Situations Ministry.

The Boeing 747 crashed in Dacha-Suu village of Chui oblast, 1.5-2 km away from the runway of the Manas international airport, the ministry reported.

The plane crashed into a housing area at approximately 7:30 a.m. local time (0130 GMT).

The flight was travelling from Hong Kong to Istanbul via Kyrgyzstan's capital Bishkek.

As a result of the crash, several houses were burnt down, and there are many deaths and injuries.

"According to preliminary data, about 20 homes (were) destroyed, and the death toll rose to 32 people, including children and crew members, and 11 people are hospitalized," the report said.

Mayalieva Ermetbubu, a resident of Dacha-Suu village, told Xinhua that after the morning prayer, she heard a plane flying very close, and went outside.

"I live in cottages near the airport...The plane flew over my house. I was very scared and began to cry. Then, a few seconds later, the plane exploded, it fell on my neighbors' house. All my neighbors were killed," she said.

"I do not know what will happen next, who will help us. I'm still in shock...I saw with my own eyes how the tragedy occurred," Ermetbubu added.

Kyrgyz President Almazbek Atambayev declared Jan. 17 a day of mourning in the country, and ordered the national flag to be flown at half-mast across the country, as well as on buildings of diplomatic and consular missions abroad.

The Kyrgyz leader expressed condolences to the families of the victims and ordered provision of financial assistance to the families and those injured.

The country's cultural institutions and TV/Radio channels have urged the public to cancel entertainment events.

Kyrgyz Prime Minister Sooronbai Zheenbekov ordered the formation of a governmental commission to investigate the cause of the plane crash.

At the scene of the plane crash, First Vice Prime Minister Muhammetkaly Abulgaziev told reporters that the cause of the plane crash might be a crew error.

He said that a few planes landed safely prior to this accident, which means the weather condition was appropriate for landing.

"The weather conditions were allowing the cargo plane to be landed," he said, adding that the crew members of the crashed plane have previously landed three times at the airport in Bishkek.

In addition, Abulgaziev said that the International Aviation Commission will be engaged in the investigation of the crash.

Minister of Emergency Situations Kubatbek Boronov told local media that one of the "black boxes" has been found.

"Tomorrow, experts from Moscow will arrive and take away it to decrypt it," he said.

So far, the Manas international airport has resumed normal operation.

Source: Philippines News Agency

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