BISHKEK – A Turkish cargo plane flying from Hong Kong to Istanbul crashed in Kyrgyzstan, killing at least 32 people, authorities said on Monday.
Most of the dead were residents of a village near Kyrgyzstan’s Manas airport, 25km north of capital Bishkek, where the jet crashed.
The Boeing 747 crashed into homes as it tried to land in dense fog, Kyrgyz officials said.
The plane was supposed to make a stopover at Manas, near the capital Bishkek, on its way from Hong Kong to Istanbul but it crashed when trying to land in poor visibility at 7:31 local time (01:31 GMT), Aljazeera reported.
Head of crisis management centre at the emergencies ministry, Mukhammed Svarov, said plane crash damaged 15 buildings in the village.
The horrific incident claimed lives of four pilots and six children as well. There are reports that one crew member survived.
The country’s Manas airport has been closed and flights cancelled until evening at the earliest, airport authorities said.
ACT Airlines said in a statement that the plane involved in the crash belonged to its fleet.
Kyrgyz authorities earlier on Monday had stated that the aircraft belonged to Turkish Airlines, a claim the company denied.
ACT Airlines said it was “deeply saddened” by the accident and noted that “the cause of the accident is unknown.”
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 (@TurkishAirlines) January 16, 2017
Prime Minister Sooronbai Jeenbekov also headed a specially-appointed government commission to probe the crash and the country’s state prosecutor also opened an investigation.
Kyrgyz President Almazbek Atambayev cancelled his visit to China to return to Bishkek, according to Kyrgyz media.
Authorities said the country will observe a day of mourning on Tuesday.