Kazakhstan Antonov An-72 plane crash kills 27people
A Kazakhstan border patrol plane with 27 people on board has crashed, the country’s National Security Committee said Tuesday. Kazakhstan's acting border service chief, Col. Turganbek Stambekov, is among those killed by a deadly plane crash near the country's border with Uzbekistan.
Twenty servicemen and seven crew members were on the AN-72 plane when it crashed in southern Kazakhstan, in central Asia, the committee said in a statement.
The plane went down 12 miles (20km) from Shymkent aiport in what correspondents told was very bad weather.
Kazakhstan's acting border service chief was among 27 people killed in a military plane crash Tuesday near a southern city, another blow to the agency after he was appointed in June to deal with the aftermath of a mass killing involving a conscript.
The Russian-made An-72 crashed at 7:55 a.m. EST about 12 miles away from the city of Shymkent near the border with Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan's Committee for National Security said in a statement.
The fatalities included a crew of seven and 20 border guards, including the acting head of the ex-Soviet nation's border protection service, Col. Turganbek Stambekov, the statement said.
Without specifying further details, authorities said an investigation was opened into the crash. No cause was given, but southern Kazakhstan over recent weeks has been buffeted by winds, heavy snows and low temperatures, causing widespread flight delays.
Stambekov was appointed acting head of the border service in June, after a mass killing of 14 frontier troops in a remote Kazakh outpost near China the month before. Vladislav Chelakh, a 20-year-old conscript, was sentenced earlier this month to life in prison after being found solely responsible for the killings.
The border service has come under close scrutiny in Kazakhstan since the killings, which many argued showed the lack of readiness and professionalism among serving troops. Legislation approved Thursday by the upper house of parliament and supported by Stambekov was designed to improve the process for selecting conscripts for the service.
The Kazakh-Uzbek border stretches 1,350 miles of Central Asian steppes and deserts.
Source: By Rob Vogelaar, aviationnews.eu News - 26 December 2012
Photo: The Kazakhstan Border Patrol Aviation Antonov An-72-100 Batuzak Plane Crash. Still image from video shows the remains of an Antonov An-72 military transport plane after it crashed near Shymkent December 25, 2012. (Photo by nydailynews.com, Wikipedia)