Kyrgyz parliament commission to reveal the purpose of cargo aboard crashed plane


BISHKEK (TCA) — Kyrgyzstan’s parliament on January 19 set up a commission to investigate why a Turkish cargo plane that crashed in a village near the country’s main airport on January 16 was traveling to Bishkek.

A Boeing 747 belonging to Turkey’s ACT Airlines slammed into the village of Dacha-Suu while trying to land at Bishkek’s Manas International Airport in the morning of January 16, killing the crew of four and 34 people on the ground.

Several lawmakers at a parliament session on January 19 accused the government of ignoring contradictory reports about the purpose of the plane’s planned landing at Manas, RFE/RL’s Kyrgyz Service reported.

ACT Airlines said the plane was to unload unspecified commercial goods in Bishkek, while airport authorities and other Kyrgyz officials say the sole purpose of the stop was to refuel during a flight from Hong Kong to Istanbul.

“Our government is covering up information and saying that the plane was arriving to refuel,” said Omurbek Tekebaev, one of two leading opposition lawmakers who created a parliamentary commission to investigate the ownership of the plane’s cargo.

He claimed that “the Turks say that they were not delivering cargo to Bishkek for the first time — they have done it 52 times before.”

Emir Chukuyev, director of the Manas International Airport JSC, told a press conference on January 19 that the plane was to land at Manas for refueling only, and no unloading was planned.    

The Kyrgyz Emergency Ministry said earlier that many boxes with electronic devices, including mobile phones and kitchen appliances, had been found at the crash scene.

Witnesses told RFE/RL that some manuals for the devices were written in Kyrgyz, which some lawmakers said suggests that the cargo was destined for Kyrgyzstan.

Sergey Kwan