At least 12 killed in plane crash in Kazakhstan

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Emergency and security personnel are seen at the site of the plane crash near Almaty, Kazakhstan, December 27, 2019. REUTERS/Pavel Mikheyev

A plane with 98 people on board crashed shortly after takeoff in Kazakhstan early Friday, killing at least 12 and sending 54 to hospitals, authorities said. Ten of them were in critical condition.

Emergency and security personnel are seen at the site of the plane crash near Almaty, Kazakhstan, December 27, 2019. REUTERS/Pavel Mikheyev

The Bek Air plane “fell off the radar” minutes after it took off from Almaty airport at 7.05am (01.05 GMT) on its way to the capital, Nur-Sultan, the airport authorities said in a statement.

A survivor told English-language 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.

She added that she later saw the plane had “split in half”

The cause of the crash is already under investigation.

A Reuters reporter traveling to the airport soon after the crash said there was thick fog in the area.

The crash site in Almerek village – just beyond the end of the runway – has been cordoned off. A Reuters reporter saw the plane torn into two parts next to a house half-demolished by the impact.

Kazakh carrier Bek Air, which operates a fleet of Fokker 100 jets, could not be immediately reached for comment.

President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, in a statement published on social media, said: “All those injured will be rendered assistance. All those responsible will carry severe punishment in accordance with the law.”

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