• Thursday, Feb 09, 2023
  • Last Update : 09:54 am

Four killed in Kazakhstan military plane crash

  • Published at 04:47 pm March 13th, 2021
Kazakhstan place crash
File photo: Emergency and security personnel are seen at the site of a plane crash near Almaty, Kazakhstan, December 27, 2019 Reuters

The plane, which belonged to Kazakhstan's national security committee, caught fire after it crashed at Almaty Airport

Four people died and two more were badly injured on Saturday when a military plane crashed and caught fire while trying to land in Kazakhstan's largest city Almaty, the latest accident to hit the country's aviation industry.

City authorities said the survivors were in intensive care and their condition was "extremely" serious.

The An-26 craft was travelling to Almaty from the capital Nur-Sultan, the emergencies ministry said, noting that the airport had lost contact with the aircraft at 1722 local time (1122 GMT). 

"According to preliminary data, four people died, and two injured were sent to the nearest hospital," the ministry said in a statement.  

The plane, which belonged to Kazakhstan's national security committee, caught fire after it crashed at Almaty Airport.

An AFP correspondent saw the plane overturned, with the cockpit separated from the main body of the aircraft and the tail upside down from a fence around 300 metres (1,000 feet) away. 

There were rows of fire engines, police vehicles and ambulances at the crash site.

Videos shot from a road near the airport by eyewitnesses earlier in the day and published by local media showed thick smoke billowing in the distance after the crash.  

Almaty Airport said in a statement that "the plane crashed at the end of the runway" without offering an explanation for the accident.

President sends condolences

Kazakhstan's President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev expressed his condolences to the families of the victims and wished a swift recovery to the two survivors.

"On my orders, work has begun to clarify the causes of the plane crash," Tokayev said on Twitter.  

"Such incidents should not be repeated."

In December 2019, a dozen of around a hundred passengers died following a crash landing near Almaty Airport, with most passengers surviving unscathed.  

The Bek Air carrier that operated the aircraft has not flown since and had its licence revoked last year.

The crash was also the latest in a string of air disasters involving An-26 planes.

In September 2020, an An-26 crashed in Ukraine, killing 26, mostly students from Kharkiv National Air Force University, and leaving only one survivor.
A month before that crash, four South Sudanese passengers and three Russian crew members died when an An-26 belonging to a local operator crashed near South Sudan's capital Juba, with one person surviving the accident.

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