Day of National Mourning for Shymkent Air Tragedy

On December 26 President Nazarbayev met with leaders of State bodies and law enforcement agencies, in the aftermath of the fatal crash the previous day of a military transport airplane carrying seven crew members and 20 state officials.

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The President extended his deepest condolences to families and friends of the 27 people who died. He said the tragedy was a cause of sorrow to the whole nation and declared December 27 a day of national mourning in recognition of the deceased, who died carrying out their official duties.
The meeting was attended by Prime Minister Serik Akhmetov, the President’s aide and Secretary of the Security Council Marat Tazhin, Prosecutor General Askhat Daulbayev, Minister of Defence Adilbek Dzhaksybekov, Minister of Internal Affairs Kalmukhanbet Kassymov and the National Security Committee First Deputy Chairman Vladimir Zhumakanov.
The crash occurred just before 7pm on December 25, as the airplane began its descent towards Shymkent airport, close to the southern border of Kazakhstan. Among those on board were the acting head of the border security service, Colonel Turganbek Stambekov and other officials of the same service.
At Wednesday’s meeting, the President announced that a special interdepartmental commission would investigate the cause of the crash, headed by the Prosecutor General. The President emphasized that all circumstances surrounding the crash must be carefully scrutinized and said that the aircraft’s black box will reveal more detail. 
Based on preliminary information, it appears that no malicious external causes were involved and the crash was the tragic outcome of a combination of events, the President said. The pilot was highly experienced and the aircraft in good condition, but weather conditions were very difficult at the time, with prevailing fog and a temperature at one degree below zero. The aircraft disappeared from radar 40 km from Shymkent airport.
The Chairman of the National Security Committee, Nurtai Abykayev, flew soon after the crash to the scene, where he met with families of the deceased as well as regional authorities. The Government and State agencies have been instructed by the President to extend all necessary support and help to the families of the 27 people who died.
First Deputy Chairman of the National Security Committee, Vladimir Zhumakanov, confirmed at Wednesday’s meeting that there was no indication of any malicious cause of the crash. He also emphasized that the border patrol is working to schedule and the state borders are subject to normal levels of protection.
Prosecutor General Askhat Daulbayev said that the best investigating officers from national security bodies and the military subdivision of the Interior Ministry had been appointed to the investigative commission. Expert evaluations of the crash site, the black box recordings and all documents relating to plane maintenance, will be among the materials studied by the commission to determine the causes of the fatal crash, he said.

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