A Kazakh military jet carrying a team of senior security officals has crashed near the southern city of Shymkent, killing all 27 people on board, including the head of the country’s border guard department, authorities have said.
Turganbek Stambekov, the chief of the Kazakhstan federal border service, and his wife were among the victims of the crash on Tuesday evening, which occured about 20km from Shymkent airport, where it was due to land after a flight from the capital Astana.
Khabar state television cited local witnesses as saying that a heavy storm had desended the region at the time of the crash.
“All 27 occupants of the aircraft, including seven crew members, perished,” the state security service said in a statement.
The twin-engine Antonov An-72 jet, which authorities say fell from a height of 800m, disappeared from radar screens at about 1300GMT.
Footage of the crash site aired on Kazakh state television on Wednesday showed only fragments of the An-72 military transport plane remaining on the ground.
The National Security Service [KNB] said the military plane was transporting the officials to Shymenkt for an end-of-year security meeting.