Plane Crashes Near Almaty, President Offers Condolences to Victims’ Families

ASTANA – At 1:30 pm on January 29, a Challenger-200 passenger jet crashed just a few kilometres outside of Kazakhstan’s largest city.

The plane, belonging to SCAT Airlines, was performing a regular flight on route DV 760 Kokshetau–Almaty when it went down. According to airline officials, 21 people were on board, including a two-year-old child and a citizen of Kyrgyzstan. Airline officials say the jet disappeared from radars at 1:30 pm local time. Landing was scheduled for 1:50 pm. The pilots were trying to land but while making their second circle around the area the plane hit the ground and went to pieces.

What caused the plane to crash will be investigated after examination of the flight recorder data.

Some have claimed that the jet was denied permission to land due to heavy fog and poor visibility; others are blaming the condition of the aircraft.

Akhmetzhan Yessimov, mayor of Almaty, arrived at the crash site immediately after the crash. According to him, the city administration will provide families of victims with all necessary assistance.

In a statement on his official website, President Nursultan Nazarbayev expressed his condolences for the victims and their families.

“On behalf of the people of Kazakhstan and myself, I express deep condolences to the bereaved families. I have given instructions to relevant government authorities to investigate the causes of the crash, as well as to assist the families of the victims,” the statement said.

Prime Minister Serik Akhmetov signed a resolution “On the establishment of a government commission to investigate the cause of the CRJ 200 LR crash near Almaty airport.” The commission will be headed by the First Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Regional Development Bakhytzhan Sagintayev. The commission will also include Minister of Emergencies Vladimir Bozhko, Minister of Transport and Communication Askar Zhumagaliyev, representatives of the prosecutor general’s office, and other officials.

The prosecutor general’s office has opened a criminal investigation into the airline, which is usual in such cases.

Rescue units from the Ministry of Emergency Situations are working on-site. The ministry provided the information that the plane was a Canadian-built Bombardier CRJ200, a two-engine regional jet that can accommodate about 50 passengers. It was reported that the jet had undergone repairs in Slovenia four months ago.

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