Photo taken on Dec. 27, 2019 shows damaged empennage at the airplane crash site in Almaty, Kazakhstan. At least 12 people were killed and dozens injured after a plane of Kazakh airline Bek Air with 100 people on board crashed early Friday near the country's biggest city of Almaty, local authorities said. (Kazakh Telegraph Agency/Handout via Xinhua)
NUR-SULTAN, Dec. 27 (Xinhua) -- At least 12 people were killed and dozens injured after a plane of Kazakh airline Bek Air with 100 people aboard crashed early Friday near the country's biggest city of Almaty, local authorities said.
The only Chinese passenger onboard was not injured, as the Chinese Embassy in Kazakhstan confirmed with the Chinese Consulate-General in Almaty, adding that both the embassy and the consulate-general are maintaining close contact with the local police.
Some 1,000 people and a dozen vehicles have been dispatched to the scene for rescue operations, said the Emergency Situations Committee of Kazakhstan's Ministry of Internal Affairs.
"I express my deepest condolences to the families and friends of the deceased citizens when the plane crashed near Almaty this morning," Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev tweeted. "All those guilty will be severely punished in accordance with the law."
Besides the 12 people killed, around 50 others were hospitalized with injuries, eight of whom were in critical condition, according to a statement by the Health Ministry of Kazakhstan.
Eight of the victims died at the scene, two died while receiving medical treatment at the airport and two at the hospital, said the statement.
The plane was en route from Almaty to the capital city of Nur-Sultan. It took off at 7:05 a.m. local time (0105 GMT) and lost altitude at 7:22 a.m. (0122 GMT), the airport said.
The Bek Air Z9-2100 had 95 passengers and five crew members on board. It broke through a concrete fence before colliding with a two-storey building, but did not catch fire.
"Before crashing, the aircraft touched the runway with its tail twice. The gear was retracted," Kazakh Deputy Prime Minister Roman Sklyar told media.
"A commission will establish whether this was pilot error or technical issues. The runway was in ideal condition," said Sklyar.
The interior ministry said the captain was among those killed.
The aircraft, identified as a Fokker-100, a medium-sized, twin-turbofan jet airliner, was reportedly 23 years old and most recently certified to operate in May.
The company manufacturing the aircraft went bankrupt in 1996 and the production of the Fokker-100 stopped in the following year.
In March this year, an Iran Air Fokker-100 aircraft made an emergency landing due to a failure of one of its hydraulic systems after taking off from Qeshm Island in southern Iran. The plane caught fire, but there were no casualties.