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Kyrgyz neighborhood razed by plane crash

By Vladimir Pirogov

BISHKEK (Reuters) - When Anarkan Kozhoyeva returned home on Monday morning, her house was the only one still standing on her street in Dachi Suu village, after all others were leveled by a jumbo jet which crashed and killed entire families in their sleep.

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Turkish cargo operator ACT Airlines' Boeing 747-400 destroyed dozens of mudbrick buildings as it failed in its attempt to land at nearby Manas airport at 07:31 local time (08:31 PM EST) in foggy weather.

The crash killed all four crew members and an estimated 33 people on the ground, scattering fragments of the plane for hundreds of meters (yards) and setting some buildings on fire.

A heavy stench of fuel was in the air in Dachi Suu and smoke, mixed with dense fog, made it hard to see anything more than a stone's throw away.

Next to Kozhoyeva's house, her neighbors' shed stood nearly intact under the torn-off tail of the plane, but nothing was left of that family's house.

"I am alone now, all of my neighbors are dead," said Kozhoyeva, 65, a pensioner. "Our house was just 20 meters away" from the destroyed area.

Survivors and rescuers started sifting through the rubble and brought two injured children to her home. Both died soon afterwards, Kozhoyeva said.

"I am terrified, I don't know how to live on," she said, weeping.

Rescuers packed one body bag after another while firefighters put out the remaining flames and survivors mourned the dead.

Police cordoned off most of the crash site to prevent looting as officials said the plane had been carrying 85 tonnes of consumer goods.

(Additional reporting by Olga Dzyubenko; Writing by Olzhas Auyezov; Editing by Andrew Roche)

 

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