Kyrgyzstan health ministry says cargo plane crash kills 37

Posted at 7:01 AM, Jan 16, 2017
and last updated 2017-01-16 07:13:51-05

BISHKEK, Kyrgyzstan (AP) -- A cargo plane crashed Monday in a residential area just outside the main airport in the Central Asian nation of Kyrgyzstan, killing at least 37 people, the Emergency Situations Ministry said on Monday.

The Turkish Boeing 747 crashed just outside the Manas airport, south of the capital Bishkek, on Monday morning 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, to 31 people, according to the presidential press office that said rescue teams have recovered 31 bodies as well as body fragments of 9 bodies. Images from the scene showed the nose of the plane stuck inside a brick house.

More than a thousand rescue workers were working on the scene by late morning in the residential area where 15 houses have been destroyed, Deputy Prime Minister Mukhammetkaly Abulgaziyev said.

The cause of the crash was not immediately clear. Kyrgyz Emergency Situations Minister Kubatbek Boronov told reporters that it was foggy Monday morning at Manas when the plane came down but weather conditions were not critical.

Until 2014, the U.S. military operated a military installation at the Manas airport, using it primarily for its operations in Afghanistan.

Turkish media reports say the plane belonged to an Istanbul-based cargo company and it had departed from Hong Kong.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu on Monday called his Kyrgyz counterpart, Erlan Abdildaev, to offer Turkey's condolences, the Turkish Foreign Ministry said.


Suzan Fraser contributed to this report from Ankara.