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Police and rescuers work on the side of a plane crash. AP/PA Images
almaty airport

Kazakhstan plane crash: At least 12 people dead and 53 injured, including children

Deputy Prime Minister Roman Sklyar said that “most of the passengers who died were in the front part”.

LAST UPDATE | 27 Dec 2019

AT LEAST TWELVE people died when a plane carrying 100 passengers and crew crashed shortly after takeoff in Kazakhstan this morning, and collided with a house.

The health ministry said 53 people had been injured, nine of them children, adding that 10 of the adults were in critical condition. 

The 23-year-old plane operated by budget carrier Bek Air was torn apart and its nose crushed on impact with a building that partially collapsed, a video released by the Central Asian country’s emergencies committee showed.

The aircraft disappeared from the radar minutes after it took off from Almaty airport at 7.05am (2.05am Irish time) on its way to the capital Nur-Sultan with 95 passengers and five crew members aboard, the airport authority said in a statement.

It hit a concrete barrier and then slammed into an uninhabited two-storey house near the city’s boundary northeast of the airport.

kazakhstan-nur-sultan-plane-crash Rescuers work at the air crash site near Almaty. Xinhua News Agency / PA Images Xinhua News Agency / PA Images / PA Images

Kazakhstan responded to the crash by grounding the Fokker model, which makes up the whole of the Bek Air fleet, and launched an investigation.

The country’s emergencies committee released a list of 12 people who died, including the captain Marat Muratbayev, Rustam Kaidarov, a 79-year-old retired general, and 35-year-old Dana Kruglova, a journalist from the private Informburo news agency.

Most onboard were Kazakhs but the injured also included citizens of China, Kyrgyzstan and Ukraine. 

‘Split in two’

Deputy Prime Minister Roman Sklyar said the plane’s tail had touched the runway twice during takeoff, adding that “either this is a pilot error, or there were technical reasons”.

“The aircraft split into two parts. Most of the passengers who died were in the front part.”

spot-newskazakhstan-almaty-airplane-crash-death-toll Xinhua News Agency / PA Images Xinhua News Agency / PA Images / PA Images

President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev pledged to provide families of the victims with compensation and tweeted that those responsible “will be severely punished in accordance with the law”.

The interior ministry said it had also launched a criminal investigation into the incident.

The industry ministry said in a statement that the Fokker 100 model, which is no longer manufactured, would be grounded until the cause of the accident became clear.

All Bek Air flights in Kazakhstan have also been suspended.

In 2009, all Kazakh airlines – with the exception of the flagship carrier Air Astana – were banned from operating in the European Union because they did not meet international safety standards. The ban was lifted in 2016.

- with reporting from the Press Association

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