Russian cargo plane crash kills 25 in South Sudan
Published 05/11/2015 | 02:30
A cargo plane taking off from the South Sudanese capital of Juba has crashed along the banks of the Nile River, killing at least 25 people, including children.
Parts of the plane were scattered in a bushy area dotted with a few homes on the east side of the Nile. Packages of cheap sandals, cigarettes, beer and crackers were strewn amid the wreckage.
Bashir Yashin, who saw the plane come down, said it seemed as though initially the plane might crash into a market area before the pilot apparently diverted it. Another witness, Angelo Kenyi, said a child, who looked no more than a year old, and an elderly woman were pulled from the fuselage.
It was not clear if any of those who died had been on the ground.
Onlookers quickly gathered near the crash site, about a mile from Juba's international airport.
Presidential spokesman Ateny Wek Ateny said the plane had been bound for the Paloch oil fields in Upper Nile state.
Rebels and government forces have been battling for control of Upper Nile state. Juba, the capital, has been peaceful recently.
The Antonov plane crashed shortly after taking off yesterday morning, Mr Ateny said.
An unnamed source at the Russian aviation agency was quoted as saying that the plane appeared to have been overloaded and that it was made in the Soviet Union in 1971.
There has been no official reaction from Russian authorities so far.
After the crash, planes could still be seen taking off and arriving at the airport in Juba.
Many parts of South Sudan, which became an independent nation in 2011, have been hit by violence since December 2013, with government forces under President Salva Kiir battling rebels led by his former deputy, Riek Machar.
Fighting persists despite a peace agreement signed in August.