71 dead in crash of Iran-bound jet in Kyrgyzstan

From associated press.

map source : detiknews.com

By LEILA SARALAYEVA

BISHKEK, Kyrgyzstan (AP) — A government spokesmwoman in Kyrgyzstan says 71 people are dead after a passenger bound for Iran crashed shortly after taking off.

Government spokeswoman Roza Daudova said 24 people survived the crash. She said the known survivors included seven out of 17 members of a high school basketball team in Bishkek.

An official at Manas International Airport said the crash occurred after the crew reported a technical problem on board about 10 minutes into the flight to Tehran and that the plane was returning to the airport. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because she was not authorized to give her name.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP’s earlier story is below.

BISHKEK, Kyrgyzstan (AP) — A passenger jet carrying 90 people to Iran crashed Sunday near the main airport in Kyrgyzstan, Kyrgyz and U.S. officials said. An emergency official in the Central Asian nation said it appeared 25 people had survived.

The Boeing 737 crashed near the Bishkek airport, Maj. Damian Pickart, public affairs officer for the Manas U.S. air base, which is at the airport, told The Associated Press.

An official at Manas International Airport said the crash occurred after the crew reported a technical problem on board about 10 minutes into the flight to Tehran and that the plane was returning to the airport. The official said three were 83 passengers and seven crew members aboard. She spoke on condition of anonymity because she was not authorized to give her name.

Kyrgyz Interior Minister Maldomusa Kongatiyev told the AP there were seven crew members on board in addition to the 83 passengers. He said the plane went down 6 miles from the airport.

Kyrgyz Emergency Situations Minister Kamchibek Tashiyev said 25 of the 90 aboard survived, Russia’s Interfax and RIA-Novosti news agencies reported. A Kyrgyz emergency official also told AP it appeared 25 survived.

At least 14 people rescued from the burning plane were hospitalized, two of them in critical condition, Yelena Bayalinova, a spokeswoman for the Kyrgyz Health Ministry, told AP.

Pickart said the U.S. base sent ambulances and firefighting equipment in response to a Kyrgyz request for help.

The airport official said the plane belonged to Itek Air, a Kyrgyz company, but was operated by Iran Aseman Airlines. Interfax said the plane was headed to Mashhad in northeastern Iran.

Itek Air has been banned from operating in the airspace of the European Union because of failure to meet safety and aviation standards, according to a list published by the EU July 24.

Kyrgyzstan is a poor, mountainous country west of China. The U.S. air base in the ex-Soviet republic of Kyrgyzstan supports operations in nearby Afghanistan.

Bishkek, the capital of Kyrgyzstan and the country’s largest city, has a population about 1 million and is situated in the northern part of the Central Asian nation. Manas International Airport is about 16 miles northwest of downtown.

The United States has two bases in Central Asia, the one in Bishkek and the other in Uzbekistan, which are leased to support the U.S. military operation against the Taliban in Afghanistan.

Associated Press Writer Maria Danilova contributed to this report from Moscow.

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