9. On January 3, China landed the first spacecraft on the so-called dark side of the moon. 8. On March 10, an Ethiopian jetliner carrying 157 people crashed, killing everyone aboard. 7. On March 15, 50 people were shot to death in the New Zealand city of Christchurch in a terror attack at two mosques during midday. 6. On April 15, a fire nearlydestroyed the Notre DameCathedral in Paris. 5. On May 6, Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan announced the birth of their baby Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor.

12 killed, dozens hurt in Kazakhstan plane crash

Cause of central Asian plane crash unclear

The cause of the crash in the Central Asian nation was unclear, but authorities were looking at whether pilot error or technical failure were factors, Kazakhstan's deputy prime minister Roman Sklyar said.

In this handout photo provided by the Emergency Situations Ministry of the Republic of Kazakhstan, police and rescuers work on the side of a plane crash near Almaty International Airport, outside Almaty, Kazakhstan, Friday, Dec. 27, 2019. Almaty International Airport said a Bek Air plane crashed Friday in Kazakhstan shortly after takeoff causing numerous deaths. The aircraft had 100 passengers and crew onboard when hit a concrete fence and a two-story building shortly after takeoff.
Photo: Emergency Situations Ministry of the Republic of Kazakhstan photo via AP

The Bek Air aircraft hit a concrete fence and a two-story building after takeoff from Almaty, Kazakhstan's largest city and former capital. It lost attitude at 7:22 a.m. (0122 GMT), the Almaty International Airport said.

Sklyar said the plane's tail hit the runway twice during takeoff, indicating that it struggled to take off.

One survivor said that the plane started shaking less than two minutes after takeoff.

In this handout photo provided by the Emergency Situations Ministry of the Republic of Kazakhstan, police and rescuers work on the side of a plane crash near Almaty International Airport, outside Almaty, Kazakhstan, Friday, Dec. 27, 2019. Almaty International Airport said a Bek Air plane crashed Friday in Kazakhstan shortly after takeoff causing numerous deaths. The aircraft had 100 passengers and crew onboard when hit a concrete fence and a two-story building shortly after takeoff.
Photo: Emergency Situations Ministry of the Republic of Kazakhstan photo via AP

“At first the left wing jolted really hard, then the right. The plane continued to gain altitude, shaking quite severely, and then went down,” Aslan Nazaraliyev, one of the passengers who survived the crash, told The Associated Press by phone.

In this handout photo provided by the Emergency Situations Ministry of the Republic of Kazakhstan, police and rescuers work on the side of a plane crash near Almaty International Airport, outside Almaty, Kazakhstan, Friday, Dec. 27, 2019. Almaty International Airport said a Bek Air plane crashed Friday in Kazakhstan shortly after takeoff causing numerous deaths. The aircraft had 100 passengers and crew onboard when hit a concrete fence and a two-story building shortly after takeoff.
Photo: Emergency Situations Ministry of the Republic of Kazakhstan photo via AP

Government officials said the plane underwent deicing before the flight, but Nazaraliyev recalled that the wings of the plane were covered in ice, and passengers who used emergency exits over the wings were slipping and falling down.

The plane was flying to Nur-Sultan, the capital formerly known as Astana.

Local authorities had earlier put the death toll at 15, but the Interior Ministry later revised the figure downward.

In this handout photo provided by the Emergency Situations Ministry of the Republic of Kazakhstan, police and rescuers work on the side of a plane crash near Almaty International Airport, outside Almaty, Kazakhstan, Friday, Dec. 27, 2019. Almaty International Airport said a Bek Air plane crashed Friday in Kazakhstan shortly after takeoff causing numerous deaths. The aircraft had 100 passengers and crew onboard when hit a concrete fence and a two-story building shortly after takeoff.
Photo: Emergency Situations Ministry of the Republic of Kazakhstan photo via AP

Officials in the Almaty branch of the Kazakh Health Ministry couldn't explain why the figure was revised, but attributed the confusion to the “agitation” at the site of the crash, speaking by phone with the AP.

In a statement on its Facebook page, the airport said there was no fire and a rescue operation got underway immediately.

Around 1,000 people were working at the snow-covered site of the crash. The weather in Almaty was clear and temperatures just below freezing.

In this handout photo provided by the Emergency Situations Ministry of the Republic of Kazakhstan, police and rescuers work on the side of a plane crash near Almaty International Airport, outside Almaty, Kazakhstan, Friday, Dec. 27, 2019. Almaty International Airport said a Bek Air plane crashed Friday in Kazakhstan shortly after takeoff causing numerous deaths. The aircraft had 100 passengers and crew onboard when hit a concrete fence and a two-story building shortly after takeoff.
Photo: Emergency Situations Ministry of the Republic of Kazakhstan photo via AP

Video footage showed the front of the broken-up fuselage rammed against a building and the rear of the plane lying in the field next to the airport.

In Almaty, dozens of people lined up in front of a local blood bank to donate blood for the injured.

In this handout photo provided by the Emergency Situations Ministry of the Republic of Kazakhstan, police and rescuers work on the side of a plane crash near Almaty International Airport, outside Almaty, Kazakhstan, Friday, Dec. 27, 2019. Almaty International Airport said a Bek Air plane crashed Friday in Kazakhstan shortly after takeoff causing numerous deaths. The aircraft had 100 passengers and crew onboard when hit a concrete fence and a two-story building shortly after takeoff.
Photo: Emergency Situations Ministry of the Republic of Kazakhstan photo via AP

The aircraft was identified as a Fokker-100, a medium-sized, twin-turbofan jet airliner. It was reported to be 23 years old and was most recently certified to operate in May. The company manufacturing the aircraft went bankrupt in 1996 and the production of the Fokker-100 stopped the following year.

In this handout photo provided by the Emergency Situations Ministry of the Republic of Kazakhstan, police and rescuers work on the side of a plane crash near Almaty International Airport, outside Almaty, Kazakhstan, Friday, Dec. 27, 2019. Almaty International Airport said a Bek Air plane crashed Friday in Kazakhstan shortly after takeoff causing numerous deaths. The aircraft had 100 passengers and crew onboard when hit a concrete fence and a two-story building shortly after takeoff.
Photo: Emergency Situations Ministry of the Republic of Kazakhstan photo via AP

All Bek Air and Fokker-100 flights in Kazakhstan were suspended pending the investigation of the crash, the country's authorities said.

Kazakhstan's air safety record is far from spotless. In 2009, all Kazakh airlines — with the exception of the flagship carrier Air Astana — were banned from operating in the European Union because they didn't meet international safety standards. The ban was lifted only in 2016.

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