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Bek Air Disaster: Fokker-100 crashes in Almaty, by Travel Radar Correspondent Ankur Deo

Today early morning, a Bek Air Fokker 100 scheduled to operate from Almaty, the largest metropolis in Kazakhstan, to Nur-Sultan, the Kazakh capital, as flight coded Z2100, crashed shortly after takeoff. There were 100 passengers on-board, including eight children and five crew members. The flight was operated on a 23-year old Fokker-100 aircraft registered as UP-F1007.

Image Credits: One Mile at a Time

The flight took off from Almaty’s runway 5R at 7:21AM local time (1:21AM GMT), however, it failed to gain altitude and broke through a concrete fence at the end of the runway before crashing into a two-storey building shortly after departure (at 7:22AM local time, 1:22AM GMT). According to reports, eight people died at the scene, two more succumbed to injuries while being treated at the airport and two more died in the hospital. 66 people were taken to the hospital initially, with reports of additional 12 people being admitted in critical condition.

The captain of the flight, who was 58 year old has been reported as one of the fatalities, while the first officer, who was 54 year old has suffered serious injuries.

There was heavy fog, and temperature was reported at a freezing -12 Celsius at the time of the incident. There is a possibility of ice building up on the wings, which might explain why the aircraft was unable to gain altitude upon takeoff. This theory is worth a serious thought given the fact that the Fokker-100 aircraft is particularly known for its loss in lift if the wings are contaminated with ice. Investigators will be looking at possibility of mechanical failure, as well as pilot error; while terrorism is rare in Kazakhstan, no possibility can be ruled out just as soon.

Image Credits: One Mile at a Time

A special commission shall be set up in Kazakhstan to investigate the incident and determine cause of the crash. While Kazakhstan’s President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev has declared a day of national mourning today (December 27, 2019), he has expressed his deepest condolences to the relatives and has said that ‘all those who are responsible will be punished in accordance with the law’.

One survivor, named Aslan Nazaraliyev, said that the aircraft had begun to vibrate violently and then crashed into the ground. After the crash, he and the few fellow passengers got out of the aircraft and helped few passengers to safety.

‘It was ugly. It was dark. We were lighting with cell phone lights’, he said in a report.

We will continue to follow this crash keenly.

 

 

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