YEREVAN (Combined Sources)-A plane with 21 people on board crashed in flames Thursday morning, shortly after taking off from Yerevan airport in Armenia.
The Canadian-built CRJ-100, operated by the Belarussian state airline Belavia, had just left en route for Minsk when it caught fire.
There were no fatalities, but four people were taken to hospital with serious burns, a local official said.
Yerevan’s Zvartnots airport was temporarily closed after the crash.
"Nearly everyone on board received burns of various degrees," said Gayane Davtyan, a spokeswoman for Armenia’s civil aviation authority.
There were 18 passengers and three crewmembers on flight 1834. Sixteen of those on board were Armenian nationals. The nationalities of the others are not known.
So far there is no indication of the cause of the crash.
Armenian civil aviation chief Artyom Movsesyan told the Arminfo news agency that the plane’s wing hit the ground and the jet then flipped over several times, bursting into flames.
He said airport firefighters and rescuers had reacted quickly and "thanks to their prompt actions all the people aboard the plane were saved".
In response to the incident, President Robert Kocharyan convened an extraordinary consultation today, featuring the Head of Staff of the President’s Office, the Prosecutor General, the Chefs of Police, the National Security Service, the General Board of Civil Aviation, the Deputy Foreign Minister.
The Chief of the General Board of Civil Aviation presented the details of the accident, noting that the Canadian-built CRJ-100, operated by the Belarusian airline Belavia, had just left en route for Minsk when it caught fire.
The Aviation Security Service and the firemen managed to evacuate the 18 passengers and 3 crewmembers. They were taken to hospital after receiving first aid. Six of the passengers were injured, but the injuries were not life threatening.
President Kocharian instructed the Minister of Health to address the issues of rendering medical aid to the casualties, while the law-enforcement bodies were instructed work with the aviation services to conduct an investigation of the crash. Representatives of Belarus and Canada will participate in the investigation, the President’s press office reported.
"Belarusian experts will work with their Armenian colleagues to conduct a thorough investigation," Executive Director of the Belavia Air Company Anatoly Gusanov said.
Gusanov did not comment about the reasons of the crash, except that the possibility of the weather being behind the crash is unlikely. Things will become clear only from the content of the flight recorder, he said.
Zvartnots Airport resumed normal operations on Thursday morning.