12/27/2019, 13.10
KAZAKHSTAN
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Plane crashes after take-off near Almaty, killing at least 15 people

The aircraft, a Fokker 100, carried 95 passengers and five crew members. About 66 people have been hospitalised, 22 in serious conditions. For now, the authorities have not suggested any cause of the accident. All the planes of low-cost Bek Air have been grounded.

Almaty (AsiaNews/Agencies) – A plane with 95 passengers and five crew members on board crashed this morning just after take-off, killing at least 15 people.

The Bek Air plane, which was heading from Almaty, the country’s largest city, to the capital, Nur-Sultan, lost altitude before hitting a two-storey building near the village of Almarek, just beyond the end of the runway.

In addition to those killed, 66 people were hospitalised, 22 in serious condition. Emergency services worked at the wreckage of the plane, which is split in two, to get survivors out.

For now, the authorities have not suggested what might have caused the accident. Some witnesses say that on take-off there was a thick fog in the area.

The medium-sized, twin-turbofan Fokker 100 jet airliner was built in 1996 and its most recent flight certificate is dated May 2019. The Dutch company that built the plane went out of business in 1996.

Bek Air is considered Kazakhstan's first low-cost airline company. All Bek Air flights have been suspended and all Fokker 100 have been grounded.

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".

In the late morning, Pope Francis sent a telegram of condolence to the civil and religious authorities of Kazakhstan, signed by Secretary of State Card Pietro Parolin.

In it, the pontiff says that “he prays especially for the eternal repose of the deceased and for the healing of those injured. Upon all, especially those involved in the rescue and recovery efforts, His Holiness invokes the strength and peace of Almighty God.”

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