A Bek Air plane with 93 passengers and five crew members on board crashed near the city of Almaty in Kazakhstan on Friday shortly after taking off, killing at least 15 people, Reuters reports.
The Fokker 100 aircraft, heading for the capital, Nur-Sultan, on a pre-dawn flight, “lost altitude during takeoff and broke through a concrete fence” before hitting a two-storey building, Kazakhstan’s Civil Aviation Committee was quoted as saying.
A survivor told a news website that she heard a “terrifying sound” before the plane started losing altitude. A Reuters reporter travelling to the airport soon after the crash said there was thick fog in the area.
Authorities have not suggested any possible cause of the accident. The aviation committee said it was suspending all flights of Fokker 100 aircraft pending an investigation.
The crash site in Almerek village – just beyond the end of the runway – has been cordoned off. The plane was seen torn into two parts and lying next to a house half-demolished by the impact. Other planes could be seen taking off from the airport.
“Those responsible will face tough punishment in accordance with the law,” Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev tweeted, expressing condolences to the victims and their families.