22 die in Kazakhstan plane crash

Tuesday 29 January 2013 17.58
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Paramedics stand in thick fog near the site of the plane crash
Paramedics stand in thick fog near the site of the plane crash
Ministry troops have cordoned off the site of the crash
Ministry troops have cordoned off the site of the crash
The plane crashed about 30km from Almaty
The plane crashed about 30km from Almaty

A passenger plane crashed in thick fog near Kazakhstan's commercial capital of Almaty this morning, killing all 22 people on board, an emergency services official said.

The Canadian-built Bombardier Challenger CRJ-200 was en route from the city of Kokshetau in northern Kazakhstan to Almaty in the southeast when it crashed near the village of Kyzyl Tu, Deputy Almaty Mayor Maulen Mukashev said.

He told reporters near the scene that the plane belonged to private Kazakh airline SCAT.

SCAT operates extensive domestic services and some international flights.

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

Mr Ilyin put the death toll at 22.

Almaty and the surrounding area were covered in thick fog this morning.

"The preliminary cause of the accident is bad weather," Mr Mukashev said.

"Not a single part of the plane was left intact after it came down."

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

On Christmas Day, 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.