Turkish Airlines Flight 6491

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Turkish Airlines Flight 6491
ACT Airlines Boeing 747-412F (TC-MCL) 11 January 2017.jpg
TC-MCL, the aircraft involved in the accident, photographed at Maastricht Aachen Airport on 11 January 2017, 5 days prior to the crash
Accident summary
Date 16 January 2017 (2017-01-16)
Summary Controlled flight into terrain
Site Residential area near Manas International Airport, Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan
43°03′26″N 74°26′14″E / 43.05722°N 74.43722°E / 43.05722; 74.43722Coordinates: 43°03′26″N 74°26′14″E / 43.05722°N 74.43722°E / 43.05722; 74.43722
Crew 4
Fatalities 39 (all 4 on board; 35 on ground)
Injuries (non-fatal) At least 14 (on ground)
Survivors 0 (initially 1)
Aircraft type Boeing 747-412F/SCD
Operator ACT Airlines on behalf of Turkish Airlines
Registration TC-MCL
Flight origin Hong Kong International Airport, Hong Kong, China
Stopover Manas International Airport, Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan
Destination Istanbul Atatürk Airport, Istanbul, Turkey

Turkish Airlines Flight 6491 (TK6491/THY6491) was a scheduled international cargo flight operated by ACT Airlines, on behalf of Turkish Cargo, from Hong Kong to Istanbul via Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. On 16 January 2017, the Boeing 747-400F flying this route crashed during landing at its scheduled stopover at Manas International Airport in Bishkek. A total of 39 people, including all four crew members on board and 35 people in a residential district located near the airport, were killed in the crash.


The aircraft involved was a Boeing 747-412F,[note 1] registered as TC-MCL and with manufacturer's serial number 32897.[1] The plane's first flight was on 13 January 2003 and entered service under Singapore Airlines Cargo with the registration 9V-SFL.[2] After multiple periods of storage, the aircraft was acquired by Istanbul-based cargo company ACT Airlines in 2015, which then began operating it on behalf of Turkish Cargo.[1][3][4] The aircraft had flown a total of over 45,000 hours and 8,000 cycles as of June 2016. Its last C-check maintenance check had been completed on 6 November 2015.[4]


At 07:19 local time (01:19 UTC) on 16 January 2017, the aircraft crashed nearly 1 km beyond the end of runway 26 at Manas International Airport,[5](p11) in conditions of thick fog.[6] According to initial reports, the aircraft failed to gain enough altitude while attempting a go-around. It crashed into terrain and destroyed several houses.[7] Kyrgyz authorities later stated that the crew were making a determined attempt to land the aircraft instead of aborting the landing.[8]

A total of 39 people were killed in the crash: all four crew members and 35 residents of Dacha-SU (kyrg.: Дача-Суу), a residential area located approximately 2 kilometres (1.2 mi) to the west of the airport.[9][10][11][6][12] Among the dead were 17 children.[10]

Witnesses and rescuers reported that they found the pilot still conscious strapped into his seat, from which he had to be cut free. He later died while en route to a hospital[13][14].

Thirty-seven people on the ground were injured, including a number of children.[15][16][17][12] Nineteen houses were destroyed at the crash site, and a further seven were damaged.[18][11] Manas International Airport was closed, with all flights cancelled, following the accident.[19]

Immediate response

Wreckage of the Boeing 747-400F's tail

Deputy Prime Minister Mukhammetkalyi Abulgaziyev reported that, by late morning, more than 1,000 rescue workers were at the scene.[3] Minister of Health Talantbek Batyraliyev reported that by 11:46 a.m. local time, around 56 doctors and psychologists and 14 ambulance crews had been dispatched to the scene.[20]

A number of heads of state expressed condolences, including the presidents of the other members of the Commonwealth of Independent States and the Prime Minister of Turkey.[21][22]

The following day was declared a day of national mourning in Kyrgyzstan.[23]


The aircraft crashed near the end of runway 26 at Manas Airport

The cause of the crash was not immediately clear. Kyrgyzstan's Emergency Situations Minister, Kubatbek Boronov, stated that it was foggy at Manas at the time of the crash, but that weather conditions were not critical. By the afternoon of 16 January, one of the two flight recorders had been found,[24] and the other was located later in the recovery process.[25] Both the flight data recorder (FDR) and cockpit voice recorder (CVR) were damaged in the crash, and though investigators were able to retrieve data from the FDR they were still trying to read the CVR as of 21 January.[25]

Deputy Prime Minister Abulgaziyev suggested that the cause may have been pilot error, noting that eleven aircraft had landed safely, despite the same weather conditions, in the previous day. He added that the aircraft had attempted to land twice and had damaged the runway lights at one stage.[20] This statement was at odds with another official statement that the aircraft crashed during its first landing attempt.[8]

The Interstate Aviation Committee (IAC or MAK) of the Commonwealth of Independent States opened a technical investigation.[26]

A piece of wreckage at the crash site of Turkish Airlines Flight 6491 as seen on 30 May 2017, almost five months after the crash.

The Turkish Transportation Ministry said it had sent two experts from its accident investigation board to Bishkek to assist Kyrgyz authorities.[3]

A Boeing technical team travelled to the accident site to provide assistance at the request and under the direction of the American accident investigation body, the National Transportation Safety Board.[27]

Many initial press responses stated that a Turkish Airlines aircraft was involved in the accident. In response, Turkish Airlines released a statement on Twitter that neither the aircraft nor the crew were part of the airline, calling it an "ACT Airlines accident".[28] Nevertheless, the flight was operated under a Turkish Airlines flight number.

The preliminary investigation report found that the aircraft captured a false glideslope.[not in citation given] The crew did not acquire the required visual reference at the decision height (99 ft) and initiated a go-around at 58 ft radar altitude by pressing the TOGA switches.[5](p11) The aircraft did not have sufficient height at that point to climb out safely.[not in citation given]


The crash site of Turkish Airlines Flight 6491 as seen on 13 July 2017, almost six months after the crash

On 17 January, the Kyrgyz press reported that ACT Airlines had declared the intent to pay the victims compensation for all material and immaterial losses, citing a press release on the ACT Airlines web site.[29] The press release itself, however, stated only that losses were covered by insurance.[30]

See also


  1. ^ The aircraft was a Boeing 747-400F model; the "F" denoting that the aircraft was the freighter variant of the 747-400. Boeing assigns a unique code for each company that buys one of its aircraft, which is applied as an infix to the model number at the time the aircraft is built, hence "747-412F".


  1. ^ a b "MyCargo Airlines TC-MCL (Boeing 747 - MSN 32897) (Ex 9V-SFL)". Airfleets Aviation. 16 January 2017. Retrieved 16 January 2017. 
  2. ^ "MyCargo Airlines TC-MCL (Boeing 747 - MSN 32897) (Ex 9V-SFL ) | Airfleets aviation". www.airfleets.net. Retrieved 2017-03-24. 
  3. ^ a b c "Turkish cargo jet crash kills at least 37 in Kyrgyzstan village". The Daily Telegraph. 16 January 2017. Retrieved 16 January 2017. 
  4. ^ a b "Turkish cargo Boeing 747 crashes near Bishkek - Russian aviation news". Russian Aviation Insider. 16 January 2017. Retrieved 16 January 2017. 
  5. ^ a b "Preliminary Report" (PDF). Interstate Aviation Committee. Retrieved 27 March 2017. 
  6. ^ a b "ASN Aircraft accident Boeing 747-412F TC-MCL Bishkek-Manas International Airport (FRU)". Aviation Safety Network. 16 January 2017. Retrieved 16 January 2017. 
  7. ^ Hradecky, Simon (16 January 2017). "Crash: MyCargo B744 at Bishkek on Jan 16th 2017, impacted terrain on go around". The Aviation Herald. Retrieved 16 January 2017. 
  8. ^ a b "Разбившийся Боинг-747 не кружил в полосе ожидания, экипаж сразу решил совершить посадку, - замглавы "Кыргызаэронавигации"" [Deputy Head of Kyrgyzaeronagizatsiya: Crashed Boeing 747 Did Not Make a Go-Round, the Crew Decided to Land Right Away] (in Russian). AKIpress. 17 January 2017. Retrieved 17 January 2017. 
  9. ^ "The authorities of Kyrgyzstan: in the crash of Boeing killed 38 people". 24-my.info. 24-my.info. Retrieved 17 January 2017. 
  10. ^ a b "Kyrgyzstan Mourns Victims Of Plane Crash That Devastated Village". Radio Free Europe. RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service. Retrieved 17 January 2017. 
  11. ^ a b "Belarus' First Deputy Foreign Minister signs Book of Condolences at Kyrgyzstan's embassy". Belarusin Telegraph Agency. Retrieved 17 January 2017. 
  12. ^ a b "Крушение "Боинга-747". Скончался один из госпитализированных" [Boeing 747 Crash: One of the hospitalized has died]. 24.kg (in Russian). 22 January 2017. Retrieved 23 January 2017. 
  13. ^ "Witnesses of Kyrgyzstan crash speak of loss, finding pilot". Yahoo! News. 17 January 2017. 
  14. ^ http://avherald.com/h?article=4a38d07d
  15. ^ Preliminary report, pages 7,11
  16. ^ "Kyrgyzstan Ministry Says Cargo Plane Crash Kills 37". The New York Times. Associated Press. Retrieved 16 January 2017. 
  17. ^ "Крушение грузового Boeing в Киргизии" [The crash of the cargo Boeing cargo plane in Kyrgyzstan]. РБК (in Russian). 16 January 2017. Retrieved 16 January 2017. 
  18. ^ Preliminary report, page 12
  19. ^ "Turkish cargo Boeing 747 crashes in Kyrgyzstan". www.aljazeera.com. Retrieved 2017-01-16. 
  20. ^ a b "Kyrgyzstan Cargo Plane Crash: Turkish Airplane Crash Kills Dozens Near Bishkek". ibtimes.com. 16 January 2017. Retrieved 16 January 2017. 
  21. ^ ""Разделяем боль и горе". Лидеры СНГ соболезнуют Кыргызстану - СМИ" ["We share pain and suffering": CIS leaders express condolences to Kyrgyzstan]. Mir 24 (in Russian). 16 January 2017. Retrieved 17 January 2017. 
  22. ^ "Эрдоган соболезнует Атамбаеву в связи с авиакатастрофой - СМИ" [Erdoǧan expresses condolences to Atambaev regarding the air catastrophe, according to media]. Vestnik Kavkaza (in Russian). 16 January 2017. Retrieved 17 January 2017. 
  23. ^ Podolskaya, Darya (16 January 2017). "January 17 declared day of mourning". 24.kg. Retrieved 17 January 2017. 
  24. ^ "Turkish cargo jet crash kills at least 37 in Kyrgyzstan village". The Telegraph. Our Foreign Staff. Retrieved 16 January 2017. 
  25. ^ a b "Crashed 747's flight recorders badly damaged". Flightglobal. 21 January 2017. Retrieved 23 January 2017. 
  26. ^ "Boeing 747-412F TC-MCL 16.01.2017." Interstate Aviation Committee. Retrieved on February 5, 2017.
  27. ^ "News Releases/Statements". boeing.mediaroom.com. Retrieved 17 January 2017. 
  28. ^ @TurkishAirlines (2017-01-16). "Regarding the ACT Airlines accident in Kyrgyzstan:" (Tweet) – via Twitter. 
  29. ^ Li, Natalya (17 January 2017). "АСТ Airlines выплатит компенсации всем пострадавшим в крушении Боинга" [ACT Airlines will pay a compensation to all victims of the Boeing crash] (in Russian). Vecherniy Bishkek. Retrieved 17 January 2017. 
  30. ^ "Press Release". ACT Airlines Inc. 16 January 2017. Retrieved 17 January 2017. 

External links

  • "Boeing 747-412F TC-MCL 16.01.2017." Interstate Aviation Committee. Content in Russian: "Боинг 747-412F TC-MCL 16.01.2017."
  • Drone footage of TK6491 crash site
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