A Kazakh-based Bek Air plane with 95 passengers and five crew on board has crashed on takeoff near the Almaty airport, with airport officials saying emergency workers are at the scene searching for and assisting survivors.
Kazakhstan’s Civil Aviation Committee said at least 12 people were killed in the crash that occurred early on December 27. Officials initially put the death toll at seven.
The aviation authority said the craft “lost altitude during takeoff and broke through a concrete fence” before hitting a two-story building.
A Reuters reporter at the airport said heavy fog was covering the immediate area.
Officials said the plane was headed for Nur-Sultan, the city formerly known as Astana and the capital of the Central Asian nation.
“A Bek Air plane en route from Almaty to Nur-Sultan, Flight 2100, departed at 7:05 a.m. (4:05 a.m. Moscow time) on time and then disappeared from the radar. Ninety-five passengers and five crewmembers were onboard,” the airport said on its Facebook page.
“The Bek Air plane fell outside the airport. There are survivors. Emergency services are working at the site,” it added.
Bek Air operates a fleet of Fokker 100 jets. The country’s aviation committee said it was suspending all flights of that type of aircraft in the aftermath of the crash pending an investigation.
“Those responsible will face tough punishment in accordance with the law,” Kazakh President Qasym-Zhomart Toqaev tweeted, while expressing condolences to victims and their families.
Bek Air was founded in 1999 as a business air service.