A plane carrying 98 passengers & crew crashed into a two-storey building during takeoff from Kazakhstan’s international airport in Almaty, killing at least 15 people.
According to the BBC, the Bek Air (a Kazakh airline) plane was flying from Almaty, Kazakhstan’s largest city, to Nur-Sultan, its recently appointed capital, when the plane smashed into a building moments after takeoff. Apparently, it had failed to achieve a high enough altitude to clear the runway.
Fortunately for Boeing, the plane that crashed was a Fokker 100, a medium-sized jetliner that was the largest aircraft built by Fokker before the company went bankrupt and dissolved in 1996.
Bek Air describes itself as Kazakhstan’s first low-cost airline, but when it first launched in the 1990s, the airline was focused on VIP fliers. Its fleet is made up of seven Fokker-100 aircraft.
A spokesman for the airport said the plane lost height and crashed into a barrier.
There was no fire upon impact, and a surprisingly large number of passengers survived; it’s rare for there to be dozens of survivors in a plane crash. Typically, everyone aboard dies.
Officials in Almaty said the plane grazed a concrete barrier before slamming into the building.
Aside from the 15 who died, a total of 66 people were hospitalized, including some in grave condition. There were 93 passengers and five crew members on board when the crash took place.
A Reuters reporter who was near the airport at the time of the crash said there was heavy fog at the time, and that could have impacted takeoff.
A special commission will be set up to determine the cause of the crash, and Kazakhstan’s President Qasym-Jomart Toqayev has declared a day of national mourning on Friday.
The president expressed his “deep condolences” to relatives and said “all those responsible will be severely punished in accordance with the law.”