Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 February 2020

Kazakhstan plane crash: 12 killed as Bek Air flight comes down after take-off

The Bek Air aircraft hit a concrete fence and a two-story building after takeoff from Almaty International Airport

Kazakh authorities said 12 people were killed when their passenger plane carrying nearly 100 people crashed on Friday shortly after departing from Almaty airport.

The Almaty healthcare department had earlier said the death toll was at least 15 people. The higher figure was the result of confusion on the ground, a spokeswoman for the department said.

The crash injured at least 66 others, officials in Almaty said.

The Bek Air aircraft hit a concrete fence and a two-story building after takeoff from Almaty International Airport. It said the plane lost attitude at 7.22am.

In a statement on its Facebook page, the airport said there was no fire and a rescue operation got under way immediately following the crash.

The plane was flying to Nur-Sultan, the country's capital formerly known as Astana.

The aircraft was identified as a Fokker-100, a medium-sized, twin-turbofan jet airliner. The company manufacturing the aircraft went bankrupt in 1996 and the production of the Fokker-100 stopped the following year.

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."

Tokayev also said that a government commission had been set up to investigate the circumstances surrounding the tragedy.

One survivor said the plane started shaking less than two minutes after takeoff.

“At first, the left wing jolted really hard, then the right. The plane continued to gain altitude, shaking quite severely, and then went down,” Aslan Nazaraliyev told The Associated Press by phone.

In March, a Bek Air Fokker-100 plane with 116 passengers made an emergency landing at the capital's international airport after its landing gear failed to deploy. None of the passengers or five-member crew were injured.

Kazakhstan's industry ministry said in a statement Friday that the Fokker-100 model would be grounded until the cause of the accident became clear.

Updated: December 27, 2019 11:51 PM

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