PILOT OF CRASHED JET CLIMBED OUT WALKED AROUND THE CRASH SCENE ONLY TO DIE IN HOSPITAL
One of the two pilots in the Kyrgyzstan plane disaster that killed 37 was seen clambering out of the wreckage and walking around moments after the crash – only to die after being taken to hospital, it has been revealed.
The Boeing 747, which was attempting to make a refuelling stop on its way from Hong Kong to Istanbul, crash-landed in heavy fog just outside Manas airport, south of the capital Bishkek, and ploughed through up to 60 buildings.
Officials have now revealed that one of the pilots, who they have not named, was seen looking dazed as he ‘walked around the crash site’. Muhammetkaly Abulgaziev, a vice premier of Kyrgyzstanm said the pilot ‘managed to climb out of the debris by himself’.
The impact of the crash killed 17 people on board and at least 15 living next to the airport – including 12 children and an entire family. Officials fear the death toll could rise.
This morning, authorities in the Central Asian county said ‘pilot error’ caused the crash. Dramatic pictures show the wreckage of the ACT Airlines plane among the ruins of the village.
There were reports this morning that looters had already descended on the scene with one man arrested for stealing two kettles from the wreckage, and hiding them under his coat.
One nine year old boy had left early for school in a neighbouring village and ran back to his home to find his entire family killed, it has been reported.
The haunting remains of the huge aircraft lay broken in the village, some on top of smashed and burning homes.
Rescue workers have already recovered the body of one pilot and 15 local people whose houses were in the Boeing 747 jet’s crash area, the healthcare ministry said.
This morning, the pilot was named as Ibrahim Gurcan Diranci formerly a military airman in Turkey who had previously been involved in an emergency landing of an ACT Airlines aircraft at Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan in 2010, when he was second pilot.
This was blamed on a landing gear fault caused by poor maintenance.
The second pilot in today’s crash was named as Kazim Ondul.
According to the airport administration, the plane was supposed to make a stopover at Manas on its way to Istanbul. It crashed when trying to make a second attempt to land in poor visibility at 7.30am (1.30am GMT), it has been reported.
The doomed plane ploughed for a few hundred yards through the village, shattering into pieces and damaging dozens of buildings.
The majority of the dead were from the village of Dacha-Suu, a spokesman for the country’s emergency services, Muhammed Svarov, said.
But the death toll could yet rise Svarov said, adding that authorities had launched a huge search and rescue operation.
‘Major work is underway,’ Svarov said. ‘The damage to infrastructure in the village is significant.’
Eyewitnesses said smoke was still thick in the area this morning and small fires burned in different parts of the village, but emergency services had nearly extinguished them.
Zumriyat Rezakhanova, a resident of Dacha-Suu said the plane fell ‘right on the homes’ where residents were sleeping.
‘My sister’s home is badly damaged. Luckily she and her family survived,’ Rezakhanova said.
Injured victim Baktygul Kubatova said: ‘The house was collapsing on us and I was worrying about my children, that they could die. We were sleeping at home as usual. I woke up after I saw something red in the window.
I had no time to realise what happened. Then it turned out that the ceiling and the walls of the house was crashing. With fear, I covered my son with my hand to protect him from the ruins. We could not move and I started crying for help to get out of there.
‘The house was collapsing over and over again. My child was crying.
‘The neighbours came to help. My daughter received injuries, as she was sleeping near the window, while me and my son were sleeping on the floor. As soon as we got out of the house, we immediately ran to the neighbours to wait for my brother there.
‘But all other houses were on fire, all of them were destroyed, everything was damaged as if it was an earthquake. Thank God that we were just injured and stayed alive.’
At least four pilots on the flight, which was travelling from Hong Kong to Istanbul via Kyrgyzstan’s capital Bishkek, were among the dead, the emergency services ministry said, with one pilot’s body yet to be found.
Around 43 houses were damaged by the crash, according to the emergency services ministry, but others put the number at 60.
‘The plane crashed into the houses, it killed entire families,’ one eyewitness told AFP, speaking on condition of anonymity.
‘There’s nothing left of the houses, people were killed with their whole family, their children. Many people were sleeping.’
The country’s Manas airport has been closed and flights cancelled until evening at the earliest, airport authorities said.
Prime Minister Sooronbai Jeenbekov was heading a specially-appointed government commission to investigate the circumstances of the crash.
The Turkish Boeing 747 crashed just outside the Manas airport, south of the capital Bishkek, killing people in the residential area adjacent to the airport as well as those on the PLANE
Kyrgyz President Almazbek Atambayev cancelled his visit to China to return to Bishkek, according to Kyrgyz media.
Turkish cargo operator ACT Airlines said: ‘Our TC-MCL signed plane, flying on January 16 from Hong Kong to Bishkek, crashed on landing at Bishkek at the end of the runway for an unknown reason.
‘More information will be disclosed concerning our four-person team when we get clear information.’
Bishkek transport official Marat Amankulovso said: ‘The cargo jet was approaching the runway from the east.
‘At the landing it didn’t come down on the runway, flew over it, its fuselage touched the fence and after that it crashed. It is hard to say whether the fog affected the situation.
‘We are told that all the standards were met, and that planes were landing in the same conditions earlier.’
Over 40 firefighters and nine firefighting trucks are operating at the crash site. A government commission has been set up to examine the causes of the tragedy.
Wreckage is spread across an area of one hectare.
A national day of mourning for the crash victims is to be announced by the Krygyzstan authorities.
‘In light of the plane crash that left over 30 people dead, Kyrgyzstan will announce the national day of mourning. President of the Kyrgyz Republic Almazbek Atambayev will sign the corresponding decree,’ said the presidential press service .
Until 2014, the US military operated a military installation at Manas airport, using it primarily for its operations in Afghanistan.
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