South Sudan plane crash: ‘Dozens killed’ near Juba airport

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The scene of a cargo airplane that crashed after take-off near Juba Airport in South Sudan
Image captionThe plane came down on the east bank of the River Nile

A cargo plane has crashed on take-off near the international airport in South Sudan’s capital Juba, with at least 25 people killed.

There are fears the death toll may climb. A presidential spokesman told Reuters there were at least three survivors.

It is not yet known how many were killed on the plane, or on the ground.

The Antonov An-12 plane was heading to Paloch, Upper Nile State, and crashed 800m (half a mile) from the runway.

There are conflicting reports on the number of casualties, with Reuters quoting a police officer and a witness saying they had seen 41 bodies.

‘No exact numbers’

Presidential spokesman Ateny Wek Ateny told the news agency that the plane was carrying 18 people, including six crew members, and three of them – including a child – had survived.

He suggested reports of a higher death toll could be down to some people being killed on the ground, adding that he had however not heard confirmation of this.

The head of the Civil Aviation at Juba airport said emergency officials had secured the site of the crash and were “in the stage of recovering bodies and black box”.

“We cannot give you the exact number,” Stephen Warikozi added.People gather at the site where a cargo plane crashed into a small farming community on a small island in the White Nile riverImage captionThe crash left a tail fin and lumps of fuselage strewn in the vegetation close to the water

The Armenian foreign ministry has confirmed that five Armenian crew members were killed, Russia’s Interfax news agency reported. Earlier reports had said the crew were Russian.

Police were seen pulling bodies from the wreckage of the plane, with debris and cargo strewn along a bank of the White Nile River.

The plane struck a farming community on an island on the river, the AFP news agency reports.

Mr Ateny said the plane was heading towards the Paloch oil fields in the north of the country.

Cargo planes to remote parts of South Sudan often carry passengers too.

The plane’s first flight was in 1971, the Aviation Safety Network reported. It was being operated by Allied Services Limited, a logistics company based in South Sudan, at the time of the crash.

However, the plane belonged to the Tajik company Asia Airways, Tajikistan’s Transport Ministry told the Ozodagon news agency.

The Antonov State Company, which built the plane, is a Ukrainian aircraft manufacturing company.

Map of South Sudan
Officials investigate the wreckage of a cargo airplane
Image captionOfficials are investigating the wreckage
A photo of the An-12 plane, showing its registration number EY-406, which was also visible on the wreck
Image captionA photo of the An-12 plane posted on Facebook by Allied Services Limited in October shows its registration number EY-406, which was also visible on the wreck

 

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