Another Russian plane crash has occurred, killing at least 41 people in South Sudan’s capital of Juba today.
The ‘overcrowded’ cargo plane crashed after taking off just one mile from the airport. According to initial reports, the Soviet-era plane was made in 1971 and had too many passengers on board.
It is not yet clear how many were killed on the plane, or on the ground.
This crash follows just days after the Russian Metrojet plane crashed over the Sinai Desert, killing all 224 on board.
The Civil Aviation Authority said the number of dead was still being counted after the Antonov-12 B plane turbo prop plane crashed soon after take off.
The chief executive of the Civil Aviation Authority at Juba airport, Stephen Warikozi, said: “We have rushed to the site of crash and have secured it and also are in the stage of recovering bodies and black box.
“We are still now recovering the dead bodies and we cannot give you the exact number.”
Packages of cheap sandals, cigarettes, beer and crackers were strewn amid the wreckage.
Bashir Yashin, who saw the plane come down, said it seemed as though it might crash into a market area before the pilot apparently diverted it.
Another witness, Angelo Kenyi, said a child, who looked no more than a year old, and an elderly woman were pulled from the plane.
Shortly after taking off from Juba airport the plane came down on the banks of the White Nile River, leaving a tail fin and lumps of fuselage strewn in vegetation close to the water.
The Antonov plane is thought to have crashed near where some fishermen were working, with other reports saying it came down in a farming community on a small island.
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The Russian diplomatic mission in Uganda says it is in contact with South Sudanese officials over the plane crash, wih a spokesman telling AFP they were “clarifying details”.
A police officer at the scene said at least 41 people died, but said the number could climb, with the number backed up by witnesses who counted bodies.
Earlier, South Sudanese media had said the cargo plane carried five Russian crew and seven passengers.
The six crew on the plane bound for Paloch, in the north of South Sudan, comprised five Armenians and one Russian, Mr Warikozi added. All the others on the flight were South Sudanese.
It is common for the security services to put family members on the cargo planes to Paloich even if they are not on the manifest, according to Kenyi Galla, from Combined Air Services, a company operating chartered flights in South Sudan.
Mr Galla said: “Normally this flight used to carry 12 people, but the problem is they added more people.
“This plane is just for cargo, not for passengers. It was just chartered for goods.”
It is still not known what caused the Metrojet plane to crash in the Sinai Desert – about 1,700 miles north of South Sudan – on Saturday.
The airline insists it was an “external impact” which caused the jet to break up in mid-air, with the pilot and crew not issuing any distress signals.
But Egypt has downplayed suggestions the plane may have been blown up by an on-board bomb, dismissing the fears as “pure speculation”.
US officials yesterday said satelittes had picked up an infra-red signal from the area which indicated some form of explosion.
ISIS has released propaganda videos claiming responsibility for the Sinai crash, the latest of which came out today, but they remain unsubstantiated.