Turkish Airlines Flight 6491, a cargo plane, has crashed into a residential area near the Kyrgyzstan capital of Bishkek, killing at least 35 people and injuring others, local authorities say. Rescue work is still underway.
The accident happened at about 7:30 a.m. local time on Monday when Flight 6491, a Boeing 747, was on final approach to Manas International Airport, which is located just northwest of the capital Bishkek. The plane was flying from Hong Kong International Airport.
The airliner went down in a residential area just a few hundred meters from the start of the runway, causing a large fire that was extinguished a short time later. Footage from the scene showed multiple buildings that were either completely destroyed or heavily damaged.
Health Minister Talantbek Batyraliyev told the AKIpress news agency that at least 35 people had been killed in the crash, including 4 crew members. An earlier update from the health ministry, when the death toll stood at 16, said at least 6 children are among those killed.
In addition to those killed, eight people are being treated at area hospitals, Batyraliyev said.
It was not immediately clear how many people were on board the aircraft when it went down, though a Boeing 747 cargo plane typically carries a crew of at least two people. Turkish Airlines did not respond to multiple requests for information.
Flight 6491 was traveling on a regular route from Hong Kong to Istanbul, with a stopover for fuel at Manas International Airport in Kyrgyzstan. The aircraft was operated by MyCargo Airlines (also known as ACT Airlines) on behalf of Turkish Airlines.
“Our condolences to the families of those who have lost their lives in the tragic incident involving an ACT Airlines aircraft in Kyrgyzstan,” Turkish Airlines said in a brief statement on its official Twitter account, providing no further details.
It was not immediately known what may have caused Monday’s accident, though the area was affected by fog and icy conditions when the plane went down. Manas International Airport has been closed until further notice.
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