Pope Francis Monday sent a telegram to survivors of a cargo plane crash in the Central Asian country of Kyrgyzstan, expressing his sorrow for all those who died and sending his prayers for the rescue efforts.
“Deeply saddened to learn of the tragic crash of a cargo plane near
Bishkek, Pope Francis sends his condolences to all those who have lost
loved ones, particularly in Manas, and commends the souls of the
deceased to the mercy of almighty God,” the Jan. 16 telegram stated.
“In praying for the search and rescue efforts, his holiness invokes
upon the nation the divine blessings of strength and consolation,” it
continued, sent by Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin on
behalf of Pope Francis.
At least 37 people were killed Monday after a Turkish cargo plane
crashed into the village of Dacha-Suu, 16 miles northwest of the Kyrgyz
capital Bishkek, while trying to land at the airport which serves
The plane, traveling from Hong Kong to Istanbul, was scheduled for a
stopover at the Manas airport, according to airport officials in
Bishkek, the AP reports.
The plane crashed at 7:40am local time, destroying half of the
village, including 15 homes and dozens of buildings, some of which burst
into flames after being hit by debris from the plane.
The four members of the flight’s crew were among those who died.
Another 15 people, including six children, were hospitalized, according
to the health ministry.
The reason for the crash is still unknown.
Though there was fog at
the airport the morning of Jan. 16, the weather conditions were not
considered critical, the AP reports. The Kyrgyz deputy prime minister
said that “according to preliminary information, the plane crashed due
to a pilot error,” the BBC reports.
Kyrgyzstan has declared Tuesday a day of national mourning.