Country mourns victims of the plane crash

Country mourns victims of the plane crash

Dec 27. Kazpravda. Shymkent

By Lubov Dobrota

Country mourns victims of the plane crashPresident Nursultan Nazarbayev held a meeting yesterday with the heads of state and law enforcement agencies in the wake of the military plane crash near Shymkent.

As the President’s press-service informed, the meeting was attended by Prime Minister Serik Akhmetov, Secretary of the Security Council Marat Tajin, Attorney General Askhat Daulbaev, Defense Minister Adilbek Dzhaksybekov, Interior Minister Kalmukhanbet Kasymov, First Deputy Chairman of the National Security Committee Vladimir Zhumakanov.

The military plane with guards on board crashed on December 25, 18:55 p.m. local time. The 7 crew members and 20 servicemen were killed. A special inter-ministerial committee was formed to look into the accident. The General Prosecutor’s Office launched a criminal investigation into it. An inter-authority commission on investigation of aviation incidents is currently working at the accident site. Chairman of the National Security Commission Nurtai Abykayev has left for Shymkent to handle the necessary organization.

– It is a great tragedy, and I express deepest condolences to the families and relatives of the victims, – said Nursultan Nazarbayev, instructing to carefully look into all the circumstances of the plane crash.

Final conclusions will be made after decryption of the “black box” readings. So far foul play is excluded, and the reason is believed to be bad weather conditions, in spite of which the crew decided to land. 40 kilometers off Shymkent the plane disappeared from radar screens. The pilot was experienced, the aircraft underwent a complete maintenance and was in good condition.

Nursultan Nazarbayev urged to take measures to prevent the recurrence of such incidents.

– People were killed in the line of duty. It is a great tragedy, a hard test to us all, a grievous time to the whole country. So I declared December 27 a day of national mourning. All the rest will be announced after a thorough analysis of what had happened, – he said.

The Government and relevant authorities were instructed to provide all the required assistance to the families of the victims.

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Chairman of Kazakhstan National Security Commission Nurtai Abykayev gave several versions of the recent plane crash at the briefing in Shymkent.

The first version is bad weather conditions. That day the weather was nasty, with rain, fog, snow and poor visibility. It could be possibly human factor or some technical failures. Decryption of the black box will throw more light on the crash reasons.

– Debris of the plane are scattered in a radius of 50 meters on the top of the hill, – said N. Abykayev. – The crash site shows that the plane fell apart on impact with the ground.

The aircraft crashed in the vicinity of Shymkent, near suburban village of Tassay, and after 19.00 p.m. a watchman of the nearby cement plant’s quarry sent an alarm to the remote control of the emergency officer on duty that a plane had fallen and was on fire. When the regional emergency team arrived at the crash site, it was too late, there was no one to rescue. Rescuers and investigators worked there all night, and by the morning the site was cordoned off by the police.

As previously reported, all on board were killed. Among them was acting head of the Border Control Service of Kazakhstan National Security Committee Turganbek Stambekov. Abay Brekeshev, formerly in charge of the “Ontustik” regional command was temporarily appointed in his place.

According to Nurtai Abykayev, the military transport plane was making a scheduled flight. The pilots’ proficiency was above doubt, the crew commander had more than 5000 flight hours, the navigator – 1 500 hours. The aircraft, made in 1990 was serviceable and underwent a complete maintenance November 2, 2012. After that the AN-72 flew 40 hours, with 30 takeoffs and 30 landings.

The head of the National Security Committee said that the genomic tests might be necessary as well, possibly made by foreign experts.

He met with relatives of the victims, expressed condolences and promised assistance to each family. A special commission will handle the funerals.

The governor of South Kazakhstan oblast Askar Myrzakhmetov, who was present at the briefing, said all the pre-New Year celebrations were cancelled there.