Cargo plane crashes into village in Kyrgyzstan, killing at least 37
En route from Hong Kong to Istanbul, plane crashed in a village, killing several townspeople
A cargo plane crashed Monday in a residential area just outside the main airport in Kyrgyzstan, killing at least 37 people, the Emergency Situations Ministry said on Monday.
The Boeing 747 crashed just outside the Manas airport, south of the capital Bishkek, killing people in the residential area adjacent to the airport as well as those on the plane.
Reports of the death toll on Monday ranged from 37 people according to emergency officials in the Central Asian nation, to 31 reported by the presidential press office which also said rescue teams had recovered parts of nine bodies. Fifteen people including six children have been hospitalized.
Kyrgyz officials initially identified the Boeing 747-400 as belonging to Turkish Airlines, but Turkish cargo operator ACT Airlines said the jet was theirs.
"Our TC-MCL signed plane, flying on Jan. 16 from Hong Kong to Bishkek, crashed on landing at Bishkek at the end of the runway for an unknown reason," ACT Airlines said in an emailed statement.
"More information will be disclosed concerning our four-person team when we get clear information."
Images from the scene showed the nose of the plane stuck inside a brick house and large fragments of debris scattered around.
Kyrgyz Emergency Situations Minister Kubatbek Boronov said 23 out of the 43 houses in the village had been destroyed. Several dozen homes were near the fence surrounding the runway.
Manas has been considerably expanded since the United States began to operate a military installation at the Manas airport, using it primarily for its operations in Afghanistan. American troops vacated the base and handed it over to the Kyrgyz military in 2014.
More than 1,000 rescue workers were at the scene by late morning in the residential area where 15 houses have been destroyed, Deputy Prime Minister Mukhammetkaly Abulgaziyev said.
Boronov told reporters that it was foggy at Manas when the plane came down but weather conditions were not critical.
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu on Monday called his Kyrgyz counterpart, Erlan Abdildaev, to offer Turkey's condolences, the Turkish Foreign Ministry said.
- An earlier version indicated the plane belonged to Turkish Airlines. In fact, it was ACT, a cargo airline based in Turkey.Jan 16, 2017 3:00 AM ET
With files from Reuters