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Sudan Tribune

Plural news and views on Sudan

Cargo plane crashes outside Khartoum, killing crew of seven

By MOHAMED OSMAN, Associated Press Writer

KHARTOUM, Sudan, Feb 3, 2005 (AP) — The pilot of a cargo plane that was losing altitude bravely steered his aircraft away from houses seconds before it crashed, killing the entire crew of seven, Sudan’s director of civil aviation said Thursday.

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The wreckage of a Sudanese Ilyushin plane litters the crash site about 25 kilometers (16 miles) from the center of Khartoum, Sudan, Thursday, Feb 3, 2005. (AP).

The pilot radioed Khartoum airport he had an emergency related to fuel, director Abou Bakr Jaafar told The Associated Press at the site where the Sudanese plane came down outside the capital city at about 8 a.m. local time (0600 GMT).

“He changed his flight to move the plane out of the inhabited area,” Jaafar said. “This was a courageous move.”

The plane crashed about about half a mile (800 meters) from the houses of Ad Babkir district, about 25 kilometers (16 miles) from the center of Khartoum.

Jaafar said the crew of the Ilyushin IL-67 plane comprised six Russians and one Sudanese. When reporters arrived at the scene, their bodies had not yet been removed and six were extremely badly burned.

“We don’t know the exact reason for the crash,” Jaafar said, adding it was under investigation. “The pilot told the control tower he was facing a full emergency and he said it was related to fuel. A few minutes later he disappeared from our radar.”

The weather was fine Thursday morning with perfect visibility.

Police tried to keep a crowd of 200 people away from the plane’s wreckage. More than two hours after the crash, an aircraft engine was smoldering, but much of the debris had not been burned. The site was littered with cargo — cardboard boxes, clothes, blankets, cosmetics and radio cassettes.

The plane, owned by the private Sudanese company Air West, was flying to Khartoum airport from Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates.

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