About 37 people have been killed, most of them on the ground, when a Turkish cargo plane flying from Hong Kong crashed into homes in Kyrgyzstan.
Officials say the Boeing 747 TC-MCL aircraft operated by ACT Airlines crashed as it landed in fog at Manas airport, 25 kilometre north of the capital, Bishkek.
ACT is an Istanbul-based airline operating under the name “MyCargo” and the aircraft involved is believed to have been around 14 years old.
Flight TK6491 had at least four people on board and was supposed to have stopped at Manas en route to Istanbul in Turkey.
At least 15 buildings were destroyed in a village outside the airport,with a number of children among the dead.
Deputy Prime Minister Muhammetkaly Abulgaziev said on state TV that “According to preliminary information, the plane crashed due to a pilot error.”
One witness, Baktygul Kurbatova, told local media: “I woke up because of a bright red light outside. I couldn’t understand what was happening.
“It turns out the ceiling and the walls were crashing on us. I was so scared but I managed to cover my son’s face with my hands so that debris would not fall on him.”
Another witness told journalists that “the plane crashed into the houses.It killed entire families. There’s nothing left of the houses. Many people were sleeping.”
Hundreds of rescuers are reported to be working at the scene, joined by the country’s Prime Minister Sooronbai Jeenbekov.
Similarly, the Kyrgyz media reported that President Almazabek Atambayev has cancelled a planned visit to China because of the tragedy.