ALMATY (Reuters) – A Bek Air plane with 93 passengers and five crew members on board crashed near the city of Almaty in Kazakhstan on Friday shortly after taking off, killing at least 15 people, authorities in the Central Asian country said.
Emergency and security personnel are seen at the site of the plane crash near Almaty, Kazakhstan, December 27, 2019. REUTERS/Pavel Mikheyev
The Fokker 100 aircraft, heading for the capital, Nur-Sultan, on a pre-dawn flight, “lost altitude during takeoff and broke through a concrete fence” before hitting a two-storey building, Kazakhstan’s Civil Aviation Committee said.
A survivor told News website Tengrinews she heard a “terrifying sound” before the plane started losing altitude.
“The plane was flying with a tilt. Everything was like in a movie: screaming, shouting, people crying,” she said.
A Reuters reporter traveling to the airport soon after the crash said there was thick fog in the area.
Authorities have not suggested any possible cause of the accident. The aviation committee said it was suspending all flights of Fokker 100 aircraft pending an investigation.
Kazakh carrier Bek Air, which operates a fleet of Fokker 100 jets, could not be immediately reached for comment.
Another survivor, businessman Aslan Nazaraliyev told the Vremya newspaper the plane started shaking while gaining altitude about two minutes after takeoff.
“At some point we started falling, not vertically, but at an angle. It seemed like control over the plane was lost,” he said.
At least 15 people were killed, and 66 were taken to hospital, including some in grave condition, municipal authorities said.
The crash site in Almerek village – just beyond the end of the runway – has been cordoned off.
A Reuters reporter saw the plane torn into two parts next to a house half-demolished by the impact. Other planes could be seen taking off from the airport.
“Those responsible will face tough punishment in accordance with the law,” Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev tweeted, expressing condolences to the victims and their families.
Reporting by Olzhas Auyezov; Editing by Robert Birsel
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