The plane – a Fokker 100 medium-sized twin-turbofan jet airliner, which is operated by low-cost airline Bek Air – was heading towards the capital of Kazakhstan, but lost altitude less than a minute after take-off and ‘broke through a concrete fence’, crashing near the city of Almaty, Kazakhstan’s Civil Aviation Committee said in a statement. The plane was carrying 93 passengers and five crew members. Emergency services have been working tirelessly to evacuate 66 survivors, 50 of which were taken to hospital.
Authorities noted that 22 patients are being treated in hospital in ‘critical condition’ and that the revised death toll for the incident is currently at least 12. Officials have put out a call for blood donations needed to treat the survivors.
Bek Air operates a fleet of Fokker 100 jets. It has been reported that the Fokker plane that crashed was built in 1996, and the company that manufactured it went bankrupt the same year – as such, production of the Fokker 100 stopped the following year. The downed plane’s last flight certificate was issued in May 2019.
The aviation committee asserted that it was suspending all flights of that type of aircraft – as well as all Bek Air flights – pending an investigation. And Kazakhstan’s interior ministry said that it was investigating a possible breach of flight operations and safety rules.
Speculations around the high survival rates in the crash suggest that there being no engine fire during the crash allowed many survivors sat towards the rear of the plane to walk away from the crash site after impact, as well as the fact that the crash occurred so soon after take-off.
Kazakhstan's President Qasym-Jomart Toqayev expressed ‘deep condolences’ to the families of those who had died in the crash. "Those responsible will face tough punishment in accordance with the law,” he said.