Kyrgyzstan Health Ministry says cargo plane crash kills 37

BISHKEK, Kyrgyzstan (AP) — A cargo plane crashed Monday in a residential area just outside the main airport in Kyrgyzstan, killing at least 37 people, the Emergency Situations Ministry said on Monday.

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.

Reports of the death toll on Monday ranged from 37 people according to emergency officials in the Central Asian nation, to 31 reported by the presidential press office which also said rescue teams had recovered parts of nine bodies. Fifteen people including six children have been hospitalized.

Images from the scene showed the nose of the plane stuck inside a brick house and large fragments of debris scattered around.

Several dozen private houses cluster just outside the metal fence separating the cottages from the runway. Manas has been considerably expanded since the United States began to operate a military installation at the Manas airport, using it primarily for its operations in Afghanistan. American troops vacated the base and handed it over to the Kyrgyz military in 2014.

More than a thousand rescue workers were at the scene by late morning in the residential area where 15 houses have been destroyed, Deputy Prime Minister Mukhammetkaly Abulgaziyev said.

The cause of the crash was not immediately clear. Kyrgyz Emergency Situations Minister Kubatbek Boronov told reporters that it was foggy at Manas when the plane came down but weather conditions were not critical.

Turkish media reports say the plane belonged to an Istanbul-based cargo company and it had departed from Hong Kong.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu on Monday called his Kyrgyz counterpart, Erlan Abdildaev, to offer Turkey’s condolences, the Turkish Foreign Ministry said.

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Suzan Fraser contributed to this report from Ankara.

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