23 killed after plane crashes in DR Congo’s Goma city

23 killed after plane crashes in DR Congo’s Goma city

At least 23 bodies were recovered after a small plane crashed in the eastern city of Goma in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).

The plane, operated by local company Busy Bee, crashed after shortly take-off, North Kivu Governor Carly Nzanzu Kasivita’s office said in a statement on Sunday.

“We are up to 23 bodies now,” Joseph Makundi, Goma rescue service coordinator, told AFP news agency.

The Dornier-228 aircraft had been headed for the city of Beni, 350km (220 miles) north of Goma when it went down. 

The dead are believed to include all those on board the plane as well as people on the ground.

Images 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.

Goma airport official Richard Mangolopa said no survivors were expected from the disaster. The exact number of casualties on the plane and on the ground was not yet known.

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, according to Al Jazeera’s Alain Uaykani, reporting Beni.

He said the company Busy Bee indicated the engine had just been changed on the plane.

“Something apparently has gone wrong with the new engine,” Uaykani said. “They could not save anyone from this plane because of the difficult situation with the location of the area.”

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DR Congo plane crash

 Air accidents are relatively frequent in the DRC because of lax safety standards and poor maintenance [Pamela Tulizo/AFP]

Heritier Said Mamadou, a Busy Bee airline staff member, said the plane was carrying 17 passengers and two crew members.

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.

All of the country’s commercial carriers, including Busy Bee, are prohibited from operating in the European Union.

In October, a cargo plane also departing from the same airport crashed an hour after take-off, killing all eight passengers and crew.

In September 2017, an Antonov cargo plane chartered by the army crashed near the capital Kinshasa, killing all 12 people on board.

The country’s deadliest Antonov disaster was in January 1996 when an overloaded plane overshot the runway in Kinshasa and crashed into a popular market, killing hundreds on the ground.

Goma map

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