Senior Officials Among 27 Killed As Kazakh Military Plane Crashes

  @AmruthaGayathri on December 26 2012 5:59 AM
Kazakh plane crash
Still image from video shows the remains of an Antonov An-72 military transport plane after it crashed near Shymkent, Dec. 26, 2012 REUTERS

A military plane carrying senior Kazakh security officials, including the acting border service chief, crashed in the southern part of the country Tuesday, killing everyone on board.

Twenty seven people, including the border service officers and their acting chief Col. Turganbek Stambekov, were on board the plane, the Associated Press reported.

Kazakhstan's National Security Committee (KNB) confirmed that seven crew members and 20 members of the border guard were killed.

The Antonov An-72 military transport plane crashed while making its descent at 12:55 GMT (7:55 am EST) about 20 km (12 miles) away from Shymkent, the main Kazakh city in the south, some 75 miles (120km) north of the Uzbek capital, Tashkent.

Col. Stambekov was made the acting head of the service in June, weeks after 14 border troops were found dead at a border post near Kazakhstan's southern frontier with China, which prompted his predecessor to resign.

Vladislav Chelakh, a 20-year-old conscript, was found solely responsible for the killings and was sentenced to life earlier this month.

Authorities said an investigation was opened into the crash, but they did not furnish any details.

The Director-General of the U.N. Office at Geneva, Kassym-Jomart Tokayev of Kazakhstan, Wednesday offered condolences over the incident.

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