Kazakhstan's Bek Air aircraft went down shortly after take-off from Almaty airport, at 7:22 am early Friday morning, killing at least nine on-board. Rescue operations are underway and the reason for the incident will be investigated.
How did the incident unfold?
Bek Air aircraft took off from Kazakhstan's Almaty airport, early Friday morning. The plane was en route to Kazakhstan's capital Nur-Sultan, formerly known as Astana, with 100 people on board. Among those 100, 95 were passengers, and the remaining five were crew members.
The plane lost height at 7:22 am [Local Time], struck a concrete barrier, before crashing into a two-storied building, Kazakhstan's Civil Aviation Ministry said in a statement. There was no fire upon impact. A Reuters reporter travelling to the airport said there was thick fog in the area.
Footage has appeared online, showing rescue operations underway. Aeroplane's front can be seen smashed into the building, with debris all around.
A commission will be set up to determine the cause of the crash. Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev took to Twitter to offer condolences and said, "Those responsible will face tough punishment in accordance with the law".
Bek Air was founded in 1999, targeting VIP flight operations. Presently, the company describes itself as Kazakhstan's first low-cost airline. Its fleet contains Dutch Fokker-100 aircraft. The Dutch company manufacturing Fokker aircraft went bankrupt in 1996 and halted production, the next year. Kazakhstan's aviation committee has suspended operations of all flights using that aircraft, till the investigation into the December 27 crash, is concluded.
This isn't the first such crash at Almaty. In January 2013, a passenger plane with 20 onboard, crashed near Almaty, killing all passengers and crew members on board. Lack of visibility due to dense fog was responsible for the crash. A month earlier, in December 2012, a military aeroplane crashed at Kazakhstan's southern city Shymkent, killing all 27 on-board.