Kyrgyzstan plane crash kills at least 32

Kyrgyzstan plane crash

A Turkish cargo plane flying from Hong Kong has crashed in Kyrgyzstan, killing at least 32 people, most of them on the ground, say officials.

The Boeing 747 crashed amid fog into homes near Manas airport, about 25km (15 miles) north of the capital, Bishkek, the Kyrgyz government said.

At least 15 buildings were destroyed and a number of children were reported to be among the dead.

Flight TK6491 was to have stopped at Manas en route to Istanbul in Turkey.

The plane belonged to Turkish cargo carrier ACT, which flies under the name MyCargo. The Kyrgyz government said the flight itself was on behalf of Turkish Airlines but this has not been confirmed.

Turkish Airlines said in a Twitter statement: “Our condolences to the families of those who have lost their lives in the tragic incident involving an ACT Airlines aircraft in Kyrgyzstan.”

‘Many were sleeping’

The plane came down shortly after 07:30 local time (01:30 GMT) in the village of Dacha-Suu, a popular holiday home area.

Visibility was poor at the time because of freezing fog, but the cause of the crash has not yet been confirmed. The plane is believed to have been around 14 years old.

Images of the crash site show fire and smoke rising from the rubble of destroyed buildings.

One witness told AFP news agency: “The plane crashed into the houses. It killed entire families. There’s nothing left of the houses. Many people were sleeping.”

There were initial reports that one crew member had survived but later reports merely spoke of one missing pilot.

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There were at least four people on board, officials said. A number of people have been taken to hospital with injuries.

A spokesman for the country’s emergency services, Muhammed Svarov, told AFP the death toll “could be bigger” and that “major work is under way” to search for survivors.

Prime Minister Sooronbai Jeenbekov and local emergency services are at the scene.

President Almazbek Atambayev has cancelled a visit to China, Kyrgyz media reported.

Manas airport, the country’s main international airport, has been closed.

In 2008, a passenger plane bound for Iran crashed shortly after take-off from Manas, killing 68 people.

Source: BBC