A Russian-built cargo plane with passengers on board crashed on Wednesday after taking off from South Sudan airport, killing at least 41 people on the flight and on the ground. Only two people survived the crash – a crew member and a child.
Shortly after taking off from Juba airport, the plane crashed on the banks of the White Nile River, leaving a tail fin and lumps of fuselage strewn in vegetation close to the water. An unknown number of people were also killed, as the plane crashed near where some fishermen were working. “We don’t know the number of people that were killed on the ground,” An eye witness said.
A police officer, who did not give his name because he was not authorised to speak to the media, told Reuters at the scene that at least 41 people died, but said the number could climb rise significantly.
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.
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.
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