ISTANBUL: A Turkish cargo plane crashed into a village near Kyrgyzstan’s main airport Monday, killing at least 37 people and destroying houses after attempting to land in thick fog, authorities said.
A massive section of the aircraft’s tail billowed smoke as rescuers worked in the village of Dacha-Suu, home to the majority of the dead, a spokesman for the country’s emergency services, Muhammed Svarov, told AFP.
Crushed cars, shattered homes and chunks of burnt plane wreckage littered the village, which was hit by the plane at around 7:30 am local time (0130 GMT), as many residents were still at home.
Zumriyat Rezakhanova, a resident of Dacha-Suu, said the plane fell “right on the homes” where residents were sleeping.
“My sister’s home is badly damaged. Luckily she and her family survived,” Rezakhanova told AFP.
At least four pilots on the flight, which was travelling from Hong Kong to Istanbul via Kyrgyzstan’s capital Bishkek, were among the dead, the emergency services ministry said, with one pilot’s body yet to be found.
ACT Airlines, a Turkish cargo airline, said in a statement that the plane involved in the crash belonged to it. 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.”
Around 43 houses were damaged by the crash, according to the emergency services ministry.