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Turkish 747 cargo jet crashes in Kyrgyzstan, killing dozens

By Ercan Ersoy Bloomberg

A Boeing 747 cargo aircraft crashed Monday during its approach to Bishkek, the capital of Kyrgyzstan, killing at least 37 people, most of them on the ground.

The jumbo jet was operated by ACT Airlines, an Istanbul-based air-freight specialist that trades as MyCargo Airlines, and was attempting to land at Manas airport at 1:20 a.m. following a flight from Hong Kong, the Turkish carrier said on its website. Kyrgyz, Turkish and ACT experts are investigating the cause of the crash, which isn’t yet known, it said.

The deaths included four crew members, according to ACT, which is 49 percent owned by China’s HNA Group. ACT said it has had the aircraft in its fleet since Dec. 10, 2015. The plane was leased to ACT by Ireland-based LCI Freight Ltd., according to HNA.

The 747-400 carried the Turkish registration TC-MCL. It was operating as flight TK6491, according to the flightradar24.com website, which tracks flights. The relatively modern -400 version of the jumbo has suffered only a handful of crashes, almost all involving cargo flights, and Boeing tweeted that it “stands ready to assist” in the investigation.

ACT has a fleet of eight 747s, including the crashed plane, according to the MyCargo website. The company was established in 2004 and acquired by Yavuz and Daglar Cizmeci and backers two years later, the site says. HNA bought its holding in 2011, when the name change to MyCargo occurred, though Daglar Cizmeci retains control.

Turkish Airlines spokesman Yahya Ustun denied early reports that the company owned the plane. ACT declined to comment on suggestions that the jet was carrying cargo on behalf of the bigger carrier.

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