27 killed in Kazakh military plane crash

A military transport plane has crashed in southern Kazakhstan, killing all 27 people on board, the RIA news agency quoted a senior Kazakh emergencies ministry official as saying.

"The plane has burnt up, only some of its fragments remain," RIA quoted the head of the regional emergencies department as saying.

Kazakh TV channel KTK said the plane had disappeared from radar screens on Tuesday at about 7pm (local time) as it was making a descent near the city of Shymkent, the capital of the South Kazakhstan Region.

Kazakhstan's KNB security service said the plane, bound for Shymkent from the capital Astana, belonged to its border troops.

The commander of the country's border guards, Turganbek Stambekov, was among those on board, it said on its site. The plane was carrying a crew of seven as well as 20 servicemen.

KTK TV quoted its sources as saying the Antonov An-72 plane had plunged to the ground in bad weather from an altitude of about 800 metres.

It broadcast footage of an eyewitness saying he had heard a loud explosion and had seen flames at the crash site.

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