Home | News    Thursday 2 June 2005

Passenger plane crashes in Sudan, 5 dead

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By Mohamed Noureldin

KHARTOUM, June 2 (Reuters) - An Antonov passenger plane crashed on Thursday when it aborted take-off in the Sudanese capital, killing at least five people and injuring two others, Sudanese aviation officials said.

The plane was bound for el-Fasher in the Darfur region of western Sudan, Ahmed Mustafa Jaylani, head of internal flights in the civil aviation authority, told Reuters

"The aircraft crashed at the north end of the runway while taking off. There were 34 passengers on board and six crew," Jaylani said. "So far, we have five people dead and two injured that we know about."

The crash happened at 11.15 a.m. (0815 GMT), he said.

"Just before take-off, it could not leave the ground so the pilot tried to stop with full brakes,"civil aviation authority spokesman Abdel Hafiz Abdel Rahim said, adding that the left engine then caught fire.

A Reuters witness said the plane was lying at the end of the runway with the left side charred but said the body of the aircraft appeared to be intact.

"This was a complete accident, and the policemen and rescue services came quickly to save us," said Abu Bakr Ibrahim Hassaballah, who was on the aircraft when it crashed but escaped unharmed. Rescue services took the injured to a nearby police hospital, officials said.

Jaylani said Marsiland, a private company operating in Sudan, had chartered the Antonov 24 (An-24) from the owners, who he identified as the al-Majal company.

Aircraft Web sites said the An-24 was a twin-propeller plane with a capacity for about 50 passengers.

A Sudanese cargo plane carrying aid to Darfur crashed near Khartoum on Feb. 3 this year, killing all the crew — one Sudanese and six Russian.

In May last year, 14 people including 12 children died in an aid plane crash in southern Sudan. In July 2003 a Sudan Airways plane crashed near Port Sudan, killing 115 people.

(With additional reporting by Opheera McDoom)

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