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21 Dead in Kazakhstan Plane Crash


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ASTANA (RIA Novosti) – Twenty-one people were killed when an airliner crashed on Tuesday near the Kazakh city of Almaty, according to Kazakhstan’s Prosecutor General’s office.

Aibek Aldabergenov)

The aircraft was en route from Kokshetau to Almaty when it crashed 5 km short of Almaty’s main airport near the village of Kyzyltu at 13:00 local time. The plane, a Bombardier CRJ200 operated by Kazakh airline SCAT (AOC n°: AK-0460-12, ICAO: VSV), was carrying 16 passengers and five crew members, according to a statement posted on the prosecutor’s website.

The Emergencies Ministry said the plane was a Canadian-built Bombardier CRJ200, a two-engine regional jet that can accommodate about 50 passengers. Kazinform reported that the plane had undergone repairs in Slovenia four months ago.

According to SCAT, the plane crashed while attempting to land in bad weather conditions. The weather near Almaty on Tuesday afternoon appeared to be foggy and humid, according to Weather.com. Unusually intense snowfalls and fog have been causing chronic flight delays across the Central Asian nation over the past few weeks.

The onboard flight recorder was found at the crash site, Kazakhstan’s Central Communications Service said. It will be sent to the Moscow-based Interstate Aviation Committee (MAK) to be analysed.

President Nursultan Nazarbayev expressed his condolences on Tuesday to the families and friends of those killed in the crash, according to a statement on his website. January 31 is declared as a day of mourning.

Kazakh authorities have opened a criminal case based on the violation of transportation safety rules resulting in the death of two or more people, the Prosectuor General’s office said in its statement.

This is the second major aircraft accident recently in Kazakhstan. In December, 27 people died when an An-72 military plane crashed near the southern city of Shymkent during violent snowstorms.

SCAT Bombardier CRJ-200SCAT, which is based in Shymkent, is banned from flying within the European Union. The company operates regional flights within Kazakhstan. Many of Kazakhstan’s airlines still operate old Soviet-era planes and some regional airports are poorly maintained. EU officials are also concerned about poor training of staff. Only one airline in Kazakhstan, state-owned Air Astana, is authorized to fly to the EU.

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