A Turkish cargo plane has crashed into a village near Kyrgyzstan’s main airport, killing at least 37 people and destroying homes after attempting to land in thick fog, authorities said.
The majority of the dead were from the village of DachaSuu where the cargo plane hit at around 7.30am local time, a spokesman for the country’s emergency services, Muhammed Svarov said.
The total number of dead “could be bigger” Mr Svarov said, adding that authorities had launched a huge search and rescue operation.
Kyrgyz officials initially identified the Boeing 747-400 as belonging to Turkish Airlines, but Turkish cargo operator ACT Airlines said the jet was theirs.
“Major work is underway,” Svarov said.
“The damage to infrastructure in the village is significant.”
At least four pilots on the flight, which was travelling from Hong Kong to Istanbul via Kyrgyzstan’s capital Bishkek, were among the dead, the emergency services ministry said, with one pilot’s body yet to be found.
Around 43 houses were damaged by the crash, according to the emergency services ministry.
“The plane crashed into the houses, it killed entire families,” one eyewitness told AFP, speaking on condition of anonymity.
“There’s nothing left of the houses, people were killed with their whole family, their children. Many people were sleeping.”