A Turkish cargo jet has crashed near Kyrgyzstan’s Manas airport, killing at least 37 people, most of them residents of a village struck by the Boeing 747 as it tried to land in dense fog, Kyrgyz officials said.
According to the airport administration, the plane was supposed to make a stopover at Manas, near the capital city Bishkek, on its way from Hong Kong to Istanbul. It crashed when trying to land in poor visibility at 7.31 am (0131 GMT) on Monday.
The plane ploughed for a few hundred metres through the village of Dacha-Suu, damaging some 15 buildings, said Mukhammed Svarov, head of crisis management centre at the emergencies ministry. At least 37 people had been killed, the ministry said.
Smoke was still thick in the area at 0600GMT and small fires burned in different parts of the village, but emergency services had nearly extinguished them.
Zumriyat Rezakhanova, a resident of Dacha-Suu, said the plane fell “right on the homes” where residents were sleeping.
“My sister’s home is badly damaged. Luckily she and her family survived,” Rezakhanova told Agence France-Presse.
The plane was identified by Flightradar24 as a 14-year-old 747-400F operated by MyCargo airlines, also known as ACT Airlines.
Kyrgyzstan’s transport ministry said there were five people on board. It identified the plane as a Turkish Airlines Boeing 747-400, but the company said it belonged to another Turkish firm, ACT Airlines.
“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.
“Our TC-MCL signed plane, flying on January 16 from Hong Kong to Bishkek, crashed on landing at Bishkek at the end of the runway for an unknown reason,” ACT Airlines said in an emailed statement.
“More information will be disclosed concerning our four-person team when we get clear information.”