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12 killed and dozens injured as plane crashes in Kazakhstan

The Bek Air aircraft hit a concrete fence and a two-storey building after take-off from Almaty International Airport.

In this handout photo provided by the Emergency Situations Ministry of the Republic of Kazakhstan, police and rescuers work on the side of a plane crash near Almaty International Airport, outside Almaty, Kazakhstan, Friday, Dec. 27, 2019. Almaty International Airport said a Bek Air plane crashed Friday in Kazakhstan shortly after takeoff causing numerous deaths. The aircraft had 100 passengers and crew onboard when hit a concrete fence and a two-story building shortly after takeoff. ( Emergency Situations Ministry of the Republic of Kazakhstan photo via AP)
In this handout photo provided by the Emergency Situations Ministry of the Republic of Kazakhstan, police and rescuers work on the side of a plane crash near Almaty International Airport, outside Almaty, Kazakhstan, Friday, Dec. 27, 2019. Almaty International Airport said a Bek Air plane crashed Friday in Kazakhstan shortly after takeoff causing numerous deaths. The aircraft had 100 passengers and crew onboard when hit a concrete fence and a two-story building shortly after takeoff. ( Emergency Situations Ministry of the Republic of Kazakhstan photo via AP)

By Vladimir Tretyakov, Associated Press

A Kazakh plane with 98 people aboard has crashed shortly after take-off, killing at least 12 people, officials in Almaty said.

There were 54 people taken to hospital with injuries, at least 10 of them in critical condition.

Local authorities had earlier put the death toll at 15, but the Interior Ministry of the Central Asian nation later revised the figure downward.

The cause of the crash was unclear, but authorities are looking at two possible scenarios — pilot error and technical failure, Kazakhstan’s deputy prime minister Roman Sklyar said.

The Bek Air aircraft hit a concrete fence and a two-storey building after take-off from Almaty International Airport.

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Police and rescuers work at the scene (Emergency Situations Ministry of the Republic of Kazakhstan/AP)

Mr Sklyar said the plane’s tail hit the runway twice during takeoff, indicating that it struggled to take off.

One survivor said that the plane started shaking less than two minutes after take-off.

“At first the left wing jolted really hard, then the right. The plane continued to gain altitude, shaking quite severely, and then went down,” Aslan Nazaraliyev, one of the passengers who survived the crash, told The Associated Press.

In a statement on its Facebook page, the airport said there was no fire and a rescue operation got under way immediately following the crash.

Around 1,000 people were working at the snow-covered site of the crash. The weather in Almaty was clear, with mild sub-zero temperatures.

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Rescuers at the site of the crashed plane near Almaty International Airport (Vladimir Tretyakov/AP)

Footage showed the front of the broken-up fuselage rammed a house, and the rear of the plane lying in the field next to the airport.

The plane was flying to Nur-Sultan, the country’s capital formerly known as Astana.

It was identified as a Fokker-100, a medium-sized, twin-turbofan jet airliner. The company manufacturing the aircraft went bankrupt in 1996 and the production of the Fokker-100 stopped the following year.

All Bek Air and Fokker-100 flights in Kazakhstan have been suspended pending the investigation of the crash, the country’s authorities said.

In 2009, all Kazakh airlines — with the exception of the flagship carrier Air Astana — were banned from operating in the European Union because they did not meet international safety standards. The ban was lifted in 2016.

PA

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