Kazakhstan: 21 Dead After Jet Crashes In Fog

All 21 people on board an internal SCAT Airlines flight in Kazakhstan were killed when their plane crashed as it approached Almaty airport in thick fog.

Sixteen passengers - including one child - and five members of crew were killed.

The plane had been en route from the city of Kokshetau in northern Kazakhstan to the southeast city when it crashed near the village of Kyzyl Tu.

The crash site revealed wreckage strewn across a snow-covered field a few miles from the airport runway.

Airport officials say the jet had already made one aborted approach and was preparing to rise again for a second attempt when it suddenly appeared to veer off course and crash into the ground.

"There was no fire, no explosion. The plane just plunged to the earth," said Yuri Ilyin, deputy head of the city's emergency department.

Kazakh President, Nursultan Nazarbayev, relayed his concerns about the recent spate of accidents affecting the aviation industry by appointing Deputy Prime Minister Bakytzhan Sagintayev to lead an investigation into the accident.

"On behalf of the Kazakh people and myself, I express the deepest sympathies to the relatives and loved ones of those who died," the Kazakh leader said a statement.

The type of plane involved in the crash is not yet known; SCAT flies Boeing 757s and 737s, along with the Yak-42 and the An-24, according to reports.

It was the second plane crash in the former Soviet republic in a month.

A military transport airplane crashed in bad weather near the southern Kazakh city of Shymkent on December 25, killing all 27 people on board.

In that crash, prosecutors said that a fatal combination of technical problems, bad weather and human errors caused that accident.

SCAT Airlines said no further comment would be made until recovery workers had found and deciphered the "black box" flight data recorders.

Officials said they located the first of the two devices a few hours after the crash.

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