Correction, Jan. 17, 5 a.m. EST: A previous version of the story wrongly identified the cargo plane involved in the accident as a Turkish Airlines aircraft. It was actually operated by Turkey's ACT Airlines.

UPDATE: 4:30 a.m. EST — About 37 people died in the crash of a cargo plane in Kyrgyzstan, reports said, citing health ministry officials. ACT Airlines, the operator of the flight that comes under the MyCargoAirlines brand, said that probes are required to establish the cause of the crash.

“The cause of the accident is unknown at this time and further details will be provided as they become available,” the company said.

However, upon preliminary findings, the cause of the crash has been ascribed to pilot error, according to Deputy Prime Minister Muhammetkaly Abulgaziyev, who cited evidence of 11 airplanes having landed safely despite the same weather conditions in the past day.

He added the plane had attempted to land twice and damaged the landing strip illumination at one stage. “This crew has flow [to Manas airport] 3-4 times. They know the landing strip at Manas airport. The visibility was 400 meters. That is why the flight controller at Kyrgyzaeronavigatsiya gave them clearance to land. The conditions were suitable for landing. So the provisional explanation is that the crash was due to crew error,” Abulgaziyev was quoted as saying by local media.

UPDATE: 2:49 a.m. EST — The death toll in the crash of an ACT Airlines cargo plane in Kyrgyzstan has risen to at least 37, reports said citing health ministry officials.

"President Almazbek Atambayev has offered condolences to the bereaved relatives and ordered to give all necessary assistance to those affected," the president’s office said in a statement, according to Sputnik news. "The government has been tasked with a thorough investigation into what caused the tragedy."

Tuesday, Jan. 17, has been declared as a day of national mourning, according to a newly released presidential decree that says Kyrgyzstan flags will be displayed everywhere, while specifying that the flags must fly at half-mast on buildings of diplomatic and consular missions abroad, AKIpress reported.

In the wake of the incident involving its Boeing 747-400, the company issued the following statement: "Boeing extends its deepest condolences to the families of those who perished in the TK6491 accident near Manas Airport Kyrgyzstan, operated by ACT Airlines, as well as its wishes for the recovery of those injured. A Boeing technical team stands ready to provide assistance at the request and under the direction of government investigating authorities."

UPDATE: 12:46 a.m. EST — The death toll in the crash of an ACT Airlines cargo plane in Kyrgyzstan has risen to at least 30, reports said citing health ministry officials.

Around 56 doctors and psychologists and 14 ambulance crews have been dispatched to the scene, Minister of Health Talantbek Batyraliyev told AKIpress. Although Kyrgyzstan’s transport ministry said that the plane was a Turkish Airlines Boeing 747-400, with five persons on board, the company said that the plane belonged to a different Turkish firm, ACT Airlines.

“Our condolences to the families of those who have lost their lives in the tragic incident involving an ACT Airlines aircraft in Kyrgyzstan,” Turkish Airlines said on its Twitter account.

Original story:

A Turkish Airlines Boeing 747 cargo plane that departed from Hong Kong International Airport crashed in a residential area in Kyrgyzstan on Monday, killing at least 20 people, according to the country’s emergency ministry.

The incident occurred at 7:31 a.m. local time (8:31 p.m. EST), amid poor weather conditions as the pilot was attempting to land the aircraft at the Manas airport near the capital city of Bishkek for a stopover, while on its way to Turkey. Local media reports suggested that around 15 homes in a dacha community -- basic housing on the outskirts of major former Soviet cities -- were destroyed upon impact.

"A cargo plane crashed due to difficult weather conditions. ... Emergency services are at work at the crash site," Mukhammed Svarov, the head of crisis management center at the emergencies ministry, reportedly said.

The local media is reporting varying figures of fatalities. Although several reports are citing government healthcare ministry sources that claim to have pulled out 15 villagers and the body of a pilot, AKIpress has cited Health Minister Talantbek Batyraliyev as saying that the death toll has swelled to around 28. Bishkek ambulance station Yegor Borisov told AKIpress that six of the victims were children. 

Deputy Prime Muhametkalyi Abulgaziyev, Minister of Emergencies Kubatbek Boronov, Minister of Transport Jamshitbek Kalilov are reportedly headed to the crash site. Manas airport has been closed as emergency services try to deal with the tragedy.

The plane is believed to be 14 years old and is considered to be operated by MyCargo. According to reports, there were no passengers on the plane but at least four pilots were on board, along with an unknown number of crew members.

Unverified images and videos depicting the crash site have surfaced on social media along with reports that one crew member survived.