A Busy Bee Congo Dornier 228-200 aircraft crashed shortly after takeoff from Goma, D.R. Congo. The aircraft crashed onto buildings in the Birere neighborhood south of the airport and a fire erupted.
All 17 occupants onboard and at least 12 persons on the ground were killed.
Twenty-three bodies have been recovered after a small plane crashed on takeoff into a densely populated area of the city of Goma in the Democratic Republic of Congo, rescue workers said.
“We are up to 23 bodies now,” Joseph Makundi , the rescue service coordinator, told AFP.
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 apparently from the burning plane as locals looked on.
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Rescue workers were also seen combing through the plane’s burnt-out fuselage.
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Richard Mangolopa, a Goma airport official, said no survivors were expected from the disaster.
The company said the 19-seater Dornier 228-200 had 16 passengers and two crew members on board. The aircraft was headed for the city of Beni, 350km (220 miles) north of Goma, when it went down.
“There were 17 passengers on board and two crew members. It took off around 9 am (7 am GMT),” Heritier Said Mamadou, a Busy Bee airline staff member, said.
Busy Bee, a recently established company, has three planes serving routes in the North Kivu province.
One of the company’s maintenance workers at the site quoted by news site actualite.cd blamed a “technical problem” for the crash.
The exact number of casualties was not yet known.
The UN mission deployed in DR Congo, Monusco, sent two fire engines to support local rescue services.
Aircraft accidents are common in the vast, conflict-wracked central African country, in particular involving Antanov planes. Last month, an Antonov 72 cargo plane that was providing logistical assistance for a trip by the DRC president, Félix Tshisekedi, and carrying eight crew and passengers, went missing after taking off from Goma.
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 market, killing hundreds on the ground.
Goma is the capital of North Kivu province. Beni, the plane’s destination, has been at the epicentre of an Ebola outbreak that has killed more than 2,000 people in the last year.