About 37 people have been reported dead following the crash of a Turkish cargo plane at a village in Kyrgyzstan.
According to a statement from Kyrgyzstan’s Ministry of Emergency Situations. “The number of victims is increasing quickly,” Elira Sharipova, a spokeswoman for Kyrgyzstan’s Emergency Ministry told CNN.
“The fire service, rescue services, ministry of internal affairs and the prime minister and emergencies minister are there.”
AlJazeera reports that the plane was supposed to make a stopover at Manas, 25km north of capital Bishkek, on its way from Hong Kong to Istanbul on Monday.
The crash damaged 15 buildings in the village, said Mukhammed Svarov, head of the crisis management centre at the emergencies ministry, putting the toll at least 32 people after initially reporting 15 deaths.
Medical staff said that six children were among the victims.
At least four pilots on the flight were among the dead, the emergency services ministry said, with one pilot's body yet to be found.
The country's Manas airport has been closed and flights cancelled until evening at the earliest, airport authorities said.
Pictures of the immediate aftermath of the accident showed a portion of the Zhang-Zhang village badly damaged.
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The plane crashed at 7:18 a.m. local time about two kilometers (1.2 miles) away from the airport, according to Kyrgyztan’s state-run Kabar Agency. Poor visibility was likely a factor, Kubatbek Boronov, the minister of Emergency Situations, told Kabar.
At least eight people — including children — were hospitalized, Kabar reported. Fifteen homes were destroyed, according to Sharipova.
It’s not clear how many people were on board, but the freighter had seating for 10 — including two pilots, two observers and six additional passengers, according to a description on the airline’s website.
ACT Airlines said in a statement that the plane involved in the crash belonged to its fleet.
Kyrgyz authorities earlier on Monday had stated that the aircraft belonged to Turkish Airlines, a claim the company denied.
ACT Airlines said it was "deeply saddened" by the accident and noted that "the cause of the accident is unknown."
Around 43 houses were damaged by the crash, according to the emergency services ministry.