At least 37 people were killed when a Turkish cargo plane crashed into a village in Kyrgyzstan, according to a statement from Kyrgyzstan’s Ministry of Emergency Situations.
“The number of victims is increasing quickly,” said Elira Sharipova, a spokeswoman for Kyrgyzstan’s Emergency Ministry. “The fire service, rescue services, ministry of internal affairs and the prime minister and emergencies minister are there.”
Pictures of the immediate aftermath of the accident showed a portion of the Zhang-Zhang village badly damaged.
The plane crashed at 7:18 a.m. local time about two kilometers (1.2 miles) away from the airport. Poor visibility was likely a factor, Kubatbek Boronov, the minister of Emergency Situations, told Kabar.
It’s not clear how many people were on board. But the freighter had seating for 10 — including two pilots, two observers and six additional passengers, according to a description on the airline’s website.
The Boeing 747 was headed from Hong Kong to Kyrgyzstan’s capital of Bishek, according to data from the tracking website FlightRadar24.
“Boeing extends its deepest condolences to the families of those who perished in the Turkish Airlines cargo Flight TK6491 accident near Manas Airport Kyrgyzstan, operated by ACT Airlines, as well as its wishes for the recovery of those injured,” Boeing said in an emailed statement. “A Boeing technical team stands ready to provide assistance at the request and under the direction of government investigating authorities.”
The plane that crashed was manufactured in 2003. It first flew for Singapore Airlines Cargo, according to flight tracking from Flightradar24 and a detailed description of the aircraft on the company’s website.
The aircraft model has been involved in several crashes over the past decade. Including a pair of accidents in 2010 and 2011 attributed to on board fires involving the shipment of lithium ion batteries. Shifting cargo aboard a National Airlines 747 was blamed for a crash in 2012. Then the jumbo airliner was taking off from Kabul, Afghanistan, killing all seven aboard.