41 die in South Sudan’s plane crash

41 killed in South Sudan plane crash. Photo: timesofindia

41 killed in South Sudan plane crash. Photo: timesofindia

An RUSSIAN-BUILT cargo plane with passengers on board crashed after taking off from the airport in South Sudan’s capital, Juba, killing at least 41 people onboard and on the ground, airport officials said.

A crew-member and a child on board survived, the presidential spokesman, Ateny Wek Ateny, told Reuters news agency. The official death toll was not immediately clear.

Shortly after taking off from Juba airport yesterday, the plane came down on the banks of the White Nile River, leaving a tail fin and lumps of fuselage strewn in vegetation close to the water.

Al Jazeera also reported that bad weather was hampering the rescue effort.

“It is raining hard here in Juba, making it difficult to look for more victims. The cargo plane was carrying passengers and it is believed that many of them were not wearing seat belts.”

The plane may have had about 20 people on board, including crew, and “probably” 10 to 15 passengers, Al Jazeera reported, adding, “We need to confirm how many people were on board.”

An unknown number of people were killed on the ground as the Antonov plane crashed near where some fishermen were working. “We don’t know the number of people that were killed on the ground,” it added.

Another witness told Reuters he had counted at least 32 bodies.

Earlier, South Sudanese media had said the cargo plane carried five Russian crew and seven passengers. South Sudan Tribune on Twitter also reported two survivors, one of them a child.

Radmir Gainanov, spokesman for Russia’s Diplomatic Mission in Uganda, which also oversees South Sudan, said the embassy was in touch with local authorities, including the defence ministry.



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