No fewer than 25 persons have died in a small passenger plane crash shortly after it took-off on Sunday, including some on the ground, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
According to Al Jazeera, the plane, operated by local company Busy Bee, went down after shortly take-off in the eastern city of Goma; North Kivu Governor Carly Nzanzu Kasivita’s office said in a statement.
The National Border Health Programme stated that two survivors, including one member of the crew; are undergoing treatment at a local hospital.
The company said the 19-seater Dornier 228-200 had 16 passengers; and two crew members on board. The aircraft was headed for the city of Beni, 350km (220 miles) north of Goma; when it went down.
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Descriptions from the scene showed plumes of black smoke; and flames from the burning plane as locals looked on. Rescue workers combed through the burned-out fuselage.
The exact number of casualties on the plane and on the ground was not yet known.
Al Jazeera reported that witnesses said the pilot was attempting to return the plane to the airport; after they heard a loud sound that seemed to come from the engine.
He said Busy Bee indicated the engine had just been changed on the plane.
“Something apparently has gone wrong with the new engine. They could not save anyone; because of the difficult situation with the location of the area,” Al Jazeera noted
At the crash site in Goma’s Mapendo neighbourhood; residents threw water from buckets and cooking pots onto the smouldering wreckage. The rear section of the plane rested sideways; propped up by a wall.
Busy Bee, a recently established company; has three planes serving routes in the North Kivu province.
Air accidents are relatively frequent in the DRC; because of lax safety standards and poor maintenance. European Union prohibits all of the country’s commercial carriers, including Busy Bee; from operating within its region.
Source: AL JAZEERA