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27 people killed in Kazakhstan military plane crash

Almaty, Dec 26 (): Seven crew members and twenty passengers have been killed in a military transport plane crash in Kazakhstan. A 72 twin-engine Antonov military transport was carrying 27 passengers, including the acting head of the Kazakh federal border service Turganbek Stambekov that disappeared from radar screens at about 7 pm local time and crashed 20 kilometres from Shymkent airport.

The plane that took off from the capital Astana to Shymkent crashed when approaching the final destination. Sources said that one of Col Stambekov’s deputies and several regional border service commanders were also on the flight.

RIA news agency told that the plane has burnt up and only few of its fragments remain. Eyewitnesses told that the plane fell from a height of 800m, causing a loud explosion. The weather around the airport was very poor at that time, the sources said.

Eyewitness Baurzhan Dosov said that there were military hats around the area and pieces of human flesh and the fire blazes still. A security source confirmed the news agency that all persons on board were killed. KTK also stated there were no survivors.

KNB said that the emergency services were working at the incident spot and also stated that an investigation was in progress.

So far no details for the crash have been known. KNB’s official stated that the plane took off from Astana in good weather conditions.

Col. Turganbek Stambekov was newly appointed as acting head of the border service in June this year, after 14 border troops were found dead at a burn-out in a Kazakh outpost near China the month before. Vladislav Chelakh, 20, was this month punished to life in prison for the killings. He denied involvement in the killings and said that the post was shot at by some unidentified people. This incident prompted his predecessor to resign.

Last month 8 people were killed when a Russian-made Mi-8 helicopter crashed in Kazakhstan.