A passenger plane crashed in heavy fog outside of Kazakhstan’s largest city on Tuesday, killing 21 people, Kazakh emergency officials said. The crash was the second aviation disaster in the country in a month.
The jet that crashed Tuesday was a Canadian-built Bombardier Challenger CRJ200 (pictured below) operated by SCAT, a private Kazakh airline. It was on its way to Almaty from Kokshetau, 775 miles away, and crashed near the Almaty airport as the pilot tried to land in a heavy fog. Emergency officials said there were no survivors.
Yuri Ilyin, the deputy head of the Almaty emergency department, said there were no signs that the crash was caused by a mechanical malfunction.
“There was no fire,” the Kazakh state news media quoted him as saying. “The plane was only destroyed on impact when it hit the ground.”
Rescue workers recovered the plane’s flight recorder, according to a Twitter post by the president’s official communications service.
SCAT, whose fleet of about 10 planes operates on domestic and international routes, said in a statement that the plane tried twice to land in “difficult weather conditions” and crashed during the second attempt. The company said there were 5 crew members and 16 passengers on board, including one child.
President Nursultan Nazarbayev of Kazakhstan said in a statement that aid would be distributed to the families of the victims.
“In the name of the people of Kazakhstan and myself, I express the deepest condolences to the families and those close to those who died,” the statement said.
Kazakh prosecutors immediately opened a criminal investigation of the crash, in case safety regulations were violated, but it was not clear whether anyone had been arrested or charged.
In late December, a Soviet-made Antonov An-72 plane carrying 20 members of Kazakhstan’s border patrol service and a crew of 7 crashed while landing at Shymkent in southern Kazakhstan. Bad weather was thought to be the cause; an investigation was opened, but no formal charges have yet been brought. (Credits: Narrative by Andrew Roth for the New York Time, Pictures by Pavel Mikheyev/European Pressphoto Agency).
The Master of Disaster