August 24, 2008

Bishkek Plane Bound for Iran Burnt Down Completely; 25 Survive – Kyrgyz Emergency Minister

BISHKEK. Aug 24 (Interfax) - The Boeing-737 which crashed in Kyrgyzstan, has burnt down completely, said Kyrgyz Emergency Minister Kamchibek Tashiyev said.

"There were 90 people on board, 25 of them survived," Tashiyev told Interfax.

Rescue operations at the crash site are underway.

According to early reports, 25 people survived the air crash, the Kyrgyz Civil Aviation Department told Interfax.

Two ambulance cars took to Bishkek the first nine victims of the Boeing 737 crash, a spokesperson for the Kyrgyz healthcare ministry told Interfax on Sunday.

The Kyrgyzstan Healthcare Ministry set up a headquarters to help victims of the Boeing 737 crash, Yelena Bayalinova, spokeswoman for the Kyrgyz Healthcare Ministry, told Interfax.

Fourteen ambulance cars have been sent to the crash site to help the victims, she said. "These are all the available cars that are currently in Bishkek," she said.

According to the Bishkek ambulance chief, there are many people on the crash site, who suffered burns of various degrees of severity, she said.

The plane crashed after the takeoff, the Kyrgyz Emergency Ministry said.

As the plane was ascending, a technical failure occurred, a ministry spokesman told Interfax. The crew commander decided to return to the airport and to ground the plane, however, for unknown reasons, as it was turning round towards the airport the plane fell down in a field not far from a village.

The first report about the crash of the airplane, which flew out from Bishkek to Iran, arrived at around 8 p.m. Moscow time. According to early information, the Boeing 737 crashed five kilometers away from the Manas International Airport near the village of Dzhangi-Dzher. The Manas airport is located 30 kilometers from Bishkek.

Emergency Minister Tashiyev told Interfax that so he has "no exact information as to whether the plane was owned" by a local or an Iranian airline company. However, early reports suggest that it was owned by Itek Air, a private airline company.

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