All on board Kazakh flight die in crash

Everyone on board died as plane attempted to land in nation's largest city during inclement weather.

    At least 22 people on board a domestic flight on Kazakhstan's SCAT airline died when their plane crashed on approach to Almaty airport.

    Tuesday's crash came as the Bombardier aircraft was approaching the airport in Almaty, the nation's largest city and former capital, in bad weather conditions. It was traveling from Kokshetau in the north.

    "There was no fire, no explosion. The plane just plunged to the earth," Yuri Ilyin, deputy head of the city's emergencies
    department, told the Reuters news agency near the scene.

    State news agency Kazinform cited an emergency official at the site of the crash as saying the plane was initially denied permission to land by the airport due to poor visibility.

    The plane then made a second approach, but lost its bearings and crashed a few miles from the airport, the official said.

    Everyone on board died in the crash.

    "Not a single part of the plane was left intact after it came down," said Maulen Mukashev, deputy mayor of Almaty.

    Al Jazeera's Robin Forrestier-Walker, reporting from Almaty, said that although details remain scarce, "weather conditions [in the area today] are really appalling."

    The plane came down near the village of Kyzyltu in Almaty region. Aircraft wreckage has been found and the site cordoned off, said our correspondent.

    The plane was scheduled to arrive at 12:50pm local time (0650G); the airport website lists the arrival time as 'DELAYED'.

    It was the second plane crash in the Central Asian country and former Soviet republic in just a over a month.

    On December 25, a military transport airplane crashed in bad weather near the southern Kazakh city of Shymkent, killing all 27 people on board.

    Prosecutors have said that a fatal combination of technical problems, bad weather and human errors caused that accident.

    Many of Kazakhstan's airlines still operate old Soviet-era planes and some regional airports are poorly maintained. EU officials are also concerned about poor training of staff.

    Only one airline in Kazakhstan, state-owned Air Astana, is authorised to fly to the EU.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


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