2 September 2008

Congo-Kinshasa: 15 Aid Workers, Two Crew Killed in Plane Crash Near Bukavu

Bukavu — IRIN has issued a corrected version of this article

Fifteen humanitarian workers and two crew members were killed on 1 September when their plane crashed near Bukavu, the capital of Democratic Republic of Congo's South Kivu province, according to officials from the UN and the flight operator.

"There were no survivors," Amy Cathey, base manager for Air Serv International in the town of Goma, told reporters.

"We don't yet have the official [passenger] list so we don't know the nationality of the passengers or the organisations they worked for," said Christophe Illemasene, spokesman for MONUC, the UN Mission in DRC.

Illemasene said there had been 17 people on board the aircraft, a Beechcraft 1900. He added that a MONUC helicopter had been dispatched to the scene early on the morning of 2 September with a search and rescue team. The team found the wreckage on the slope of a mountain near Bukavu.

"The helicopter landed far away [from the wreckage] and the search and rescue team headed to the site on foot," he added.

The plane had flown from Kinshasa bound for Goma, the capital of North Kivu province, with stopovers scheduled in the provincial capitals of Mbandaka, Kisangani and Bukavu.

Cathey said the accident happened on the approach to Bukavu amid bad weather.

Aviation accidents occur very frequently in DRC. For many of those travelling long distances, planes are the only viable option because of the dire state of the country's roads.

[ This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations ]

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