Death toll in DR Congo plane crash reaches nearly 30

Dead include 18 passengers, two crew members and nine residents

James Tasamba   | 24.11.2019
Death toll in DR Congo plane crash reaches nearly 30

GOMA, Democratic Republic of Congo

The death toll from a plane crash near Goma Airport in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo rose to 29 late Sunday, said authorities.

North Kivu provincial Health Minister Moise Kanyere told reporters that the number of dead had risen from 23 reported earlier in the day.

A Dornier-228 twin turboprop aircraft owned by private carrier Busy Bee was heading to Beni, about 350 kilometers (220 miles) north of Goma, when it crashed three minutes after takeoff in Mapendo district near the airport in North Kivu province, according to Kanyere.

The dead included 18 passengers, two crew members and nine residents on the ground.

Local authorities said the casualties on the ground were members of the same family, who were preparing to go to Sunday church service. 

Sixteen people with injuries were taken to two local hospitals for treatment.

Company officials attributed the crash to technical issues. 

Sources said a loud bang in one of the plane’s engines was heard moments after take-off.

An eyewitness in Goma said residents tried to put out the fire from the smoldering wreckage with water using buckets and cooking pots before rescue teams arrived.

Plane crashes are relatively common in DR Congo due to poor maintenance and lax air safety standards.

Last month, a cargo plane crashed an hour after take-off, killing all eight passengers and crew after departing from the same airport in Goma.

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

The DR Congo’s commercial carriers, including Busy Bee, are banned from flying into European Union airspace due to lacking safety standards.

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