A plane carrying almost 100 people has crashed near Almaty airport in Kazakhstan, killing at least 15 people.
On Friday morning Almaty airport said survivors and emergency workers were on site. Footage from the scene of the accident appeared to show the Fokker 100 plane had collided with a building.
The plane, flight number Z92100, was carrying 93 passengers and five crew. Emergency services combed through the rubble in the immediate aftermath of the crash.
Kazakhstan has declared a national day of mourning on Saturday for the victims of the crash.
Among the victims was Dana Kruglova, a 35-year-old editor for the Informburo.kz website. In a post, the website said that Kruglova was travelling from Almaty to Nur-Sultan to celebrate the New Year holiday with her parents.
“Dana Kruglova was a real journalist,” the site’s editor, Mikhail Dorofeyev, said in a post. “Dana was honest, brave and objective at the same time. This is a terrible loss for all of us.”
The crash site in Almerek village – just beyond the end of the runway – was cordoned off.
A survivor told the news website Tengrinews she heard a “terrifying sound” before the plane started losing altitude.
“The plane was flying with a tilt. Everything was like in a movie: screaming, shouting, people crying,” she said.
Another survivor, Aslan Nazaraliyev, a businessman, told the Vremya newspaper the plane started shaking while gaining altitude about two minutes after takeoff.
“At some point we started falling, not vertically, but at an angle. It seemed like control over the plane was lost,” he said.
President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev pledged to provide families of the victims with compensation and tweeted that those responsible “will be severely punished in accordance with the law”.
Tokayev also said a government commission had been set up to investigate the circumstances surrounding the tragedy.
The Bek Air flight was en route from Almaty, Kazakhstan’s largest city, to the country’s capital of Nur-Sultan.
It took off at 7:22am local time.
Kazakhstan’s civil aviation committee said in a statement the aircraft “lost altitude during takeoff and broke through a concrete fence” before hitting a small building.
The committee said 15 people were killed and 66 people had been taken to hospital. Almaty mayor’s office said at least 22 of the injured were in grave condition. Local officials put out a call for blood donations to help the survivors of the crash.
Bek Air operates a fleet of Fokker 100 jets. The aviation committee said it was suspending all flights of that type of aircraft pending an investigation.
The government said the crashed plane was produced in 1996 and its most recent flight certificate was issued in May 2019.
Kazakhstan’s interior ministry said it was investigating a possible breach of flight operations and safety rules.