Passenger plane crash kills 21 in Kazakhstan

Tue Jan 29, 2013 8:29am EST
 
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By Mariya Gordeyeva

KYZYL TU, Kazakhstan (Reuters) - A passenger plane crashed in thick fog near Kazakhstan's commercial capital Almaty on Tuesday and broke into pieces when it hit the ground, killing all 21 people on board.

After several hours, rescue teams recovered the plane's flight recorder, the central communications service for Kazakhstan's president said on its Twitter page.

A list published by the prosecutor-general's office showed there had been 16 passengers and five crew members on board.

The Canadian-built Bombardier Challenger CRJ-200 belonged to private Kazakh airline SCAT. It came down near the village of Kyzyl Tu about 5 km (3 miles) from Almaty's airport.

"There was no fire, no explosion. The plane just plunged to the earth," Yuri Ilyin, deputy head of the city's emergencies department, told Reuters near the scene.

Parts of the plane could be seen in the thick snow. Tractors and other heavy vehicles were being used cut paths through the snow to the wreckage but journalists were kept at a distance from the crash site.

It was the second fatal plane crash in the former Soviet republic in just a over a month.

Visibility at Kyzyl Tu was only about 20 to 30 meters (yards), and much of the area around Almaty was veiled in fog when the plane crashed at around 1 p.m. (2 a.m. ET).   Continued...

 
Emergencies Ministry vehicles and ambulances are parked near the site of the plane crash outside Almaty January 29, 2013. REUTERS/Shamil Zhumatov