Bek Air plane crashes near Kazakhstan airport

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Emergency services working to help survivors at the crash site where the plane collided with a building.

At least 14 people have been killed after a plane with 98 people on board crashed in Kazakhstan, airport officials say.

They say the Bek Air aircraft went down shortly after taking off at Almaty airport on Friday morning local time, smashing into a building.

At least 60 injured people, including children, were taken to hospitals.

Flight Z92100 was en route from Almaty, Kazakhstan’s largest city, to the capital Nur-Sultan.

Almaty’s airport said there were 93 passengers and five crew on board the Fokker 100 aircraft. A full list of the passengers published by Kazakhstan’s interior ministry said there were 85 adults, five children and three infants on board, not counting the crew.

The airport said the plane lost height at 07:22 local time (01:22 GMT), before striking a concrete barrier and crashing into a two-storey building. There was no fire upon impact.

The airport later published the list of 60 survivors who were being treated at hospitals.

Maral Erman, one of the survivors, said the plane was shaking during take-off, Tengri News website reports.

She said it first felt as if the plane had landed, but in fact “we hit something”.

“There wasn’t much chaos on board. There were no screaming.” Ms Erman said the crew opened the exit for passengers to get out of the aircraft.

She added that she later saw the plane had “split in half”.

Kazakhstan’s interior ministry said six children were among the dead, citing preliminary information.

The Flightradar24 aviation information website said the flight departed at 01:21 GMT, and “the last signal was received in that same minute”.

Footage has emerged of rescuers working at the scene. In it, a woman can be heard calling for an ambulance and the cockpit of the plane is seen wedged into the side of the building.

Almaty’s airport said later on Friday that it was operating normally and the flight schedule was unaffected

A special commission will be set up to determine the cause of the crash.

Kazakhstan’s President Qasym-Jomart Toqayev expressed “deep condolences” to the victims’ relatives. He also said that “all those responsible will be severely punished in accordance with the law”.

Bek Air was founded in 1999, initially targeting VIP flight operations, the company’s website says.

Nowadays, the company describes itself as Kazakhstan’s first low-cost airline. Its fleet is made up of seven Fokker-100 aircraft.

This is not the first serious plane crash in the city – on 29 January 2013, a passenger plane travelling from the northern town of Kokshetau came down near Almaty, killing 20 people

A month earlier, on 26 December 2012, a military plane carrying senior Kazakh security officials crashed in the south of the country, killing 27 people.

 

Zainab Sa’id

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