Tuesday 20 February 2018

Up to 32 now feared dead in Congolese plane disaster

Jonny Hogg in Kinshasa

A UNITED Nations plane crashed while attempting to land in Kinshasa in the Democratic Republic of Congo, killing 32, the UN said yesterday.

UN spokesman Farhan Haq said there was only one confirmed survivor out of the 29 passengers and four crew who were on board the flight from Kisangani. While the weather was bad at the time, the UN can't say whether it was a factor, Mr Haq said.

The United Nations confirmed that both Congolese and foreign nationals were aboard the flight.

"Definitely there are casualties, but we can't give final figures. Investigations are ongoing, people are still working at the crash site," UN spokesman George Ola Davies told reporters.

Earlier, Health Ministry official Joseph Kiboko said at least 20 of the 32 passengers and crew on the flight were killed after the plane lost control in high winds during landing.

"We sent eight people to hospital who were still breathing, but I don't know whether they survived. Both the pilots were killed," he said.

A UN source, who asked not to be named, said: "The plane landed heavily, broke into two and caught fire."

Reports say 20 UN workers were listed as on board the flight.

The jet was completely destroyed and the wreckage was at the end of the runway.

Irish Independent

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