Bodies of two crewmembers of crashed US military plane found in Kyrgyzstan
Rescuers have found the bodies of two crewmembers of the US military cargo plane, which crashed at the Kazakhstan-Kyrgyzstan border shortly after taking off from the American Air Force base at Manas.
Earlier there were slim hopes that the pilots could have ejected before the aircraft hit the ground, but those were meager at best since witnesses reported seeing no parachute during the crash.
The KC-135 refueling tanker lost contact with the US Transit Center, deployed at Manas International Airport outside Bishkek at 2:30pm local time (08:30 GMT) between Chorgolu and Cholok-Aryk - two villages in the Chuysky region of Kyrgyzstan.
Russia's Interfax news agency, quoting local media, reports that a wing from the plane landed on or near a residential house.
The airplane reportedly caught fire as it hit the ground. According to the Emergency Situations Ministry it had broken into three pieces when it crashed into an uninhabited area.
One of the preliminary theories as to the cause of the crash is weather conditions, as there was storm in the region.
Kyrgyz Prime Minister Jantoro Satybaldyev held an emergency meeting in connection with the crash, according to media.
Search for a US refueling plane, which crashed in Kyrgyzstan on Friday, has been suspended until the morning. So far, the search has brought no results.
However, rescuers don’t rule out that the plane’s crew have managed to eject themselves from the plane before the catastrophe.
The plane “KC-135”, which belonged to a US transport center in the airport in Kyrgyzstan’s capital Bishkek, was flying to Afghanistan with about 90 tons of fuel on board. The plane left the airport at about 2.30 p.m., but several minutes later, any connection with the plane was broken.
Witnesses say that the plane crashed at a gorge high in the mountains in about 60 kms from Bishkek. After the plane hit the ground, it fell into three parts, and its burning fragments were scattered within the radius of 1 km.
Kyrgyzstan’s Ministry of Emergency Situation has confirmed that a US refueling plane “KC-135” had crashed in Kyrgyzstan, reported a correspondent of the Voice of Russia in Kyrgyzstan.
The accident took place near Kyrgyzstan’s border with Kazakhstan. The region is mountainous and hard to
The plane belonged the Center of transit traffics in the “Manas” airport in Kyrgyzstan’s capital Bishkek.
The plane disappeared from radars’ screens several minutes after it left the airport. According to preliminary information, there were 5 people on board the plane.
Unfortunately, so far, there is very little information about this accident. According to some reports, the plane left the airport at about 2.30 p.m. and was flying in the direction of the city of Kara-Balta, which is in 70 kms from Bishkek. There is also information that the plane crashed near the village of Chaldovar, which, in its turn, is in about 20 kms from Kara-Balt. The exact place of the accident is still unknown.
Neither can it be said whether the plane was filled with fuel to the full. A refueling plane can carry up to 80 tons of fuel on its board. Out of them, 43 tons can be used for fuelling other planes, including battle planes that fly over Afghanistan.
If the plane was filled with fuel to the full, there are very little chances that somebody from the crew survived in the accident. As a rule, the heavier a plane is, the more severely it becomes destroyed if it collides with something. If the US pane was full with fuel, it most likely went on fire if it hit the ground or a rock.
At present, it is practically impossible to say what caused the accident. The weather conditions in Kyrgyzstan are now quite fit for air flights. Besides, within the last several years, the US has spent much money on its aircraft resources in Kirgizstan – in particular, on examining the weather conditions there. This is the first plane accident within the entire history of the US transit traffics center in Kirgizstan.
Kyrgyzstan’s authorities have not yet made any official statement concerning this accident. They are expecting the reaction of the US transit traffic center, because the crashed plane belonged to this center. Very likely, the US authorities will investigate this case in high secrecy.
As a rule, crews of such planes consist of 3 to 5 people – pilots, flight engineers and, sometimes, radio mechanics.
The information that the crashed plane belonged to the US Air Forces has already been confirmed by Kyrgyzstan’s Ministry of Emergency Situations and the local prosecutor’s office. Then, it was confirmed by the Ministry of Transport Communications.
The fate of the crew of a US tanker plane that crashed in northern Kyrgyzstan on Friday is unknown but emergency services are on the scene, the aircraft's US air base said.
"Emergency services are on scene. The status of the crew is unknown," the Transit Centre at Manas near Bishkek said in a statement, confirming the plane was a KC-135 Stratotanker that usually carries three crew.
The US refueling military aircraft that crashed near the Kyrgyz-Kazakh border on Friday was heading to Afghanistan, a Kyrgyz Emergency Situations Ministry spokesman said.
The airplane was reportedly carrying several dozen tonnes of fuel, he said.
Officials of the Kyrgyz Defense Ministry, the Emergency Situations Ministry, the Interior Ministry, the Transport Ministry's civil aviation department and the National Security Committee are currently en route to the site of the air crash near the village of Chaldovar in Chuy Province, located some 90 kilometers northwest of the capital Bishkek.
Emergency Situations Ministry specialists and firefighters are working at the scene.
Representatives of the US Transit Center, which owned the crashed airplane, are expected to arrive at the site any minute.
The Kyrgyz government has already formed a commission to investigate the accident.
The KC-135 airplane lost contact with the US Transit Center, deployed at Manas International Airport outside Bishkek, after it took off from the airport at 2:30 p.m. local time, a spokesman for the Kyrgyz Transport and Communications Ministry said on Friday.
A search operation has been launched. The aircraft disappeared from radar screens, the spokesman said. Rescuers are currently heading to the area near the village of Chaldovar not far from the Kyrgyz-Kazakh border where the U.S. airplane could have crashed, he said.
"We confirm that an airplane has crashed in Chuy Province. But it is not yet clear whether it is a military airplane," the Kyrgyz Emergency Situations Ministry said. It did not rule out that it could be a KC-135 Stratotanker refueling military aircraft.
The Kyrgyz media reported, citing local residents, that the airplane caught fire as it hit the ground.
People in several villages of the Panfilov district of Chuy Province in northern Kyrgyzstan told Interfax by phone on Friday that at around 2:35 p.m. local time (12:35 p.m. Moscow time), they saw a large grey-colored airplane crash in the local mountains.
The accident happened far from any localities.
"We did not see a parachute or anything like that. That is why we think that the airplane crewmembers are dead," they said.
According to their reports, the air crash occurred 15 kilometers from Chaldovar village, located in the west of Chuy Province.
The US Transit Center's KC-135 refueling tanker crashed near the Kyrgyz-Kazakh border in a difficult-to-access area in the mountains, a Kyrgyz Emergency Situations Ministry spokesman said.
Ministry specialists and firefighters are working at the scene. The aircraft exploded and caught fire in mid-air. Its wreckage was scattered over a large area, he said.
"There is a lot of debris. A search for the crew is under way," he said. Rescuers from the US Transit Center, which owned the crashed plane, have not arrived at the site yet, the spokesman said.
US center sources, for their part, told Interfax that the center's specialists were currently en route to the site of the air crash.
Kyrgyz Prime Minister Zhantoro Satybaldiyev chaired an emergency session that addressed Friday's crash of a US KC-135 refueling military aircraft in the country.
The premier ordered the creation of a commission to investigate the accident, the press service of the government's executive office said.
The Kyrgyz transport minister has been appointed to coordinate the commission's work.
Officials of the Kyrgyz Defense Ministry, the Emergency Situations Ministry, the Interior Ministry, the Transport Ministry's civil aviation department and the National Security Committee are currently en route to the site of the air crash near the village of Chaldovar in Chuy Province in northern Kyrgyzstan.
The US KC-135 refueling tanker crashed near the Kyrgyz-Kazakh border in a difficult-to-access area in the mountains, a Kyrgyz Emergency Situations Ministry spokesman said earlier.
Emergency Situations Ministry specialists and firefighters are working at the scene.
The Kyrgyz Emergency Situations Ministry has officially confirmed that a US KC-135 refueling tanker crashed in the mountains near the border with Kazakhstan.
"We officially confirm the crash of a cargo airplane near the Kazakh border," a ministry spokesman in Kyrgyzstan's Chuy Province said.
"The plane caught fire in mid-air, exploded and fell down," he said. The ministry does not yet know whether anyone was killed or injured in the accident.
"A search for the crew is under way," the spokesman said. KC-135 airplanes are usually manned by a crew of five.
The refueling tanker belonged to the US Transit Center, deployed at Manas International Airport near Bishkek.
The US Transit Center, deployed at Manas International Airport outside Bishkek, is verifying reports that the center's airplane allegedly crashed near the Kyrgyz-Kazakh border, a center spokesman said.
The spokesman said he was presently unable to confirm this information.
According to the Kyrgyz Emergency Situations Ministry's tentative reports, a KC-135 refueling tanker of the US Transit Center crashed near the village of Chaldovan not far from the Kyrgyz-Kazakh border on Friday.
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