Tue, Apr 15, 2008
Fifth Fatal Plane Crash In Nine Months
Officials say there are only six known survivors, out of 85
persons onboard a DC-9 that crashed on takeoff Tuesday in eastern
The Associated Press reports the airliner, operated by private
airline Hewa Bora, failed to gain altitude on takeoff from Goma,
and impacted a residential area adjacent to the airport. At least
60 persons on the ground were injured in the crash, and there are
reports of several deaths as well.
"We are preoccupied with trying to save as many survivors as
possible," said Gauthier Iloko, the adjunct commander of the Goma
airport. "It's difficult to give a number, but there are already at
least 10 survivors that were pulled out of the wreck and who were
sent to the hospital."
The airliner was heading to the Congolese capital city of
"Smoke was rising from the plane," said Christian Kilundu, a
spokesman for the Goma office of international aid group World
Vision. "As fire extinguishers were trying to put out the flames, I
spoke to a priest who had been pulled from the wreckage. He was
disorientated and had no idea what had happened."
One survivor, who identified himself as a pilot, theorized the
jet experienced problems with one of its landing gear tires,
contributing to the jet's inability to gain altitude on
Agence-France Presse reports Tuesday's accident is the fifth
fatal airline crash in the war-torn country since June 2007. The
fatal crash comes just days after the European Union added Hewa
Bora, one of the largest airlines in Congo, to its "blacklist" of
airlines banned from operating in the EU.
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