At Least 37 People Killed After Turkish Cargo Plane Crashes in Kyrgyzstan’s Capital

Emergency crews near Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, on Monday after a cargo jet crashed on approach to the airport, killing dozens of people. (Igor Kovalenko/European Pressphoto Agency)
Emergency crews near Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, on Monday after a cargo jet crashed on approach to the airport, killing dozens of people. (Igor Kovalenko/European Pressphoto Agency)

A Turkish cargo plane approaching the airport in Kyrgyzstan’s capital crashed early Monday, killing at least 37 people, most of them on the ground, according to the Kyrgyz government.

The Boeing 747, with a crew of four, was owned by ACT Airlines, and it was on its way to Istanbul from Hong Kong with a stopover in the Kyrgyz capital, Bishkek, according to airport officials in the Central Asian city.

The plane was approaching Manas International Airport in Bishkek when it crashed into a village adjoining the airport. Kyrgyz officials said that 23 of the village’s 43 houses were destroyed, and some buildings burst into flames. There was fog at the time, but it was not clear if the weather played a role in the crash.

The Kyrgyz Emergencies Ministry said that at least 12 people had been taken to the hospital.

An image on the website of the television station owned by Kyrgyzstan’s government showed a large section of the nose of the aircraft, including the cockpit windows, on the ground after the plane apparently crashed through a building. Wreckage was strewed across a wide area.

A video of the crash scene showed emergency workers in a snow-covered neighborhood, with pieces of the plane interspersed among houses and wreckage in flames. Tents were set up to help shelter displaced residents from temperatures of about 13 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 11 Celsius).

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SOURCE: NY Times, Michael Forsythe and Dan Bilefsky