An-72 Had 27 People On Board, All Were Fatally Injured
A Kazakh military An-72 went down Wednesday about 12 miles from Shymkent airport resulting in the fatal injury of all 27 people on board the airplane. Among the passengers on the plane were Kazakhstan's top border guard officials, according to the state security service.
The French news service AFP reports that the acting head of the border service, Turganbek Stambekov and his wife were among those on the 22-year-old airplane. Kazakhstan's KTK television reports that the airplane was flying at about 2,600 feet when it went down. It is not known why the accident occurred, but witnesses reported hearing a loud explosion at about that same time. There was also reportedly a heavy winter storm in progress.
The KNB security service said in a statement that the plane had been refurbished this year at the Antonov repair plant in Ukraine.
The accident is being called one of the most serious in the country's post-Soviet history. The security team was traveling to an end-of-year meeting in Shymkent. Video of the accident scene broadcast on state television shows only small charred pieces of the transport plane on the ground.