A 747-400 freighter aircraft, flown by Turkish carrier MyCargo Airlines on behalf of Turkish Airlines, crashed early this morning just short of the runway at Manas International Airport (FRU) in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, killing all four crew members aboard and 33 people on the ground.
Flight TK-6491 was in the middle of a routine cargo flight from Hong Kong to Istanbul and was attempting to land at FRU for a fueling stop a 1:18 GMT when the crash occurred in heavy fog. While no immediate cause has been determined for the crash, the aircraft appeared to have overshot the runway during an attempt to abort the landing, struck a perimeter fence and plowed into several houses in a residential area, killing many of the residents in their homes, according to a report from The Aviation Herald.
A statement posted this morning by MyCargo, formerly known as ACT Airlines, said the death toll had reach at least 37, including the four crew members and 33 people on the ground. Another eight people were reported injured and sent for treatment at local hospitals in Bishkek. “We want to express our deepest thoughts and condolences to the families of our crew members and the Kyrgyz people,” the statement read.
The carrier also released the names of the MyCargo crew, who perished in the crash: Captain Pilot Ibrahim Gürcan Diranci, Co-Pilot Kazim Öndül, Load Master Melih Aslan and Flight Technician Ihsan Koca. “Our team, which we lost, were [an] experienced and specialized flight crew that had carried out their professions with great success for many years,” the carrier’s statement read. Capt. Diranci and First Officer Öndül were both ex-military pilots from the Turkish Air Force, totaling 10,821 flight hours and 5,910 flight hours, respectively.
According to MyCargo, no “clear and confirmed information” has yet been released about the cause of the incident, but the carrier has commissioned two pilots at Manas Airport to assist in the immediate investigation with other Kyrgyz and Turkish authorities and is flying in other technical staff from the airline to provide assistance.
Flight TK-6491 went through all of its normal pre-flight checks before taking off from Hong Kong and reported no problems during the six-hour flight to Bishkek. The grew gave no indication of technical problems prior to final approach. The airline said the crew had rested for 69 hours in Hong Kong before taking off.
The 747-400F, registered as TC-MCL and built in 2003, was carrying 85,618 kilograms of general cargo. “Maintenance of the related aircraft was carried out in a timely manner and according to the aviation standards, like the other aircraft in our fleet,” the carrier said.
MyCargo said it is in “constant contact” with the Ministry of Transport and the General Directorate of Civil Aviation, the Turkish Embassy in Bishkek-Kyrgyzstan, the Airport Authority and the Kyrgyzstan Civil Aviation Authority. “Clear and confirmed information about the accident will be shared with the public when available,” the carrier added.