Horrible: Cargo 747 Crashes In Kyrgyzstan, Kills Dozens

Filed Under: Misc.

There’s very sad news out of Kyrgyzstan this morning. A 747-400 cargo plane crashed on landing this morning while it made a routine fuel stop at Manas Airport, just outside of Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan.

The flight was operated by a 14 year old 747-400 with registration TC-MCL, which was originally operated by Singapore Airlines Cargo, though in 2015 it was transferred to MyCargo Airlines. MyCargo Airlines operates cargo flights on behalf of several airlines.

In the past this plane operated flights on behalf of Qatar Airways, though as of the past week, it has been operating on behalf of Turkish Airlines. It was flying from Hong Kong to Istanbul, but made a refueling stop at Manas Airport (not because the 747 doesn’t have the range to fly it nonstop, but because it’s more economical to carry less fuel and more cargo).


The flight had four crew members, though a majority of the deaths from the accident came from the fact that the plane allegedly hit a couple of dozen houses. Dozens of people are dead, and the death toll keeps rising.

The plane crashed while attempting to land, though details are still emerging as to what happened from there. It could be that they touched down way late and overran the runway, it could be that it was a botched go around, etc. We do know that visibility was horrible — only about 150 meters at the time.

Here’s a graphic of where the plane eventually ended up:

Per BBC, it seems the Deputy PM of Kyrgyzstan is drawing some pretty quick conclusions about what happened:

Deputy PM Muhammetkaly Abulgaziev said on state TV: “According to preliminary information, the plane crashed due to a pilot error.”

See here for more pictures of the crash site.

What a horrible, horrible situation. My thoughts are with those involved — both the families of the crew, and all those on the ground in the area where the plane crashed. This is the second 747 cargo crash in a few years — in 2013 a National Airlines 747-400 crashed after takeoff in Afghanistan.

  1. @ John — The number is what’s alleged. There aren’t official reports yet as to exactly how many houses were hit.

  2. I can’t believe the man who filmed the second crash in full didn’t say anything until well after the crash and he was coming to a stop, when he does and it doesn’t appear that the sound was cut before that. I’m not sure if what I would have been saying would have been fit to air.

  3. A few things about this crash.

    It will be documented as a THY flight no matter the operator as it carried an official THY flight number (which is important legally as many innocent lives on the ground were lost). The runway they were attempting to land on was Cat II and subjected at the time to low visibility….however some 15 flights landed without incident prior. The two pilots (the additional crew consisted of a loadsman and technician) were both Turkish, highly experienced, and ex-Turkish Air Force. So, a bit presumptuous of the media to call it “pilot error.” As in most accidents it will probably consist of an unfortunate string of issues that compounded towards this tragic end. One thing that is talked about at great length in pilot groups is that the Turkish cockpit culture is very reminiscent of the Korean cockpit culture some years ago…one that was diligently worked on (especially at KAL) in implementing more Western styles of CRM. A lot left to be seen and analyzed – but the hope is that these lives were not taken without a lesson that will assist in saving other lives in the future in being better educated and prepared as to the circumstances.

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