At least 19 dead after plane crashes in Congo city

A cargo plane crashed into a residential area of Pointe-Noire, the Republic of Congo`s economic capital, killing at least 19 people.

Last Updated: Mar 22, 2011, 09:32 AM IST

Brazzaville: A cargo plane crashed into a
residential area of Pointe-Noire, the Republic of Congo`s economic capital, killing at least 19 people, officials said.

"We have registered 19 deaths and 14 injured. For the
moment there are more dead than injured. These are still
preliminary figures," National Civil Aviation Agency director
general Michel Ambende said.

"We don`t know yet if the toll will grow. Searches are
continuing," said Ambende, who was at the scene of the
accident.

"The plane crashed on landing," Ambende said earlier.

"It had started landing after being given authorisation
by the control tower," he said, adding there was "a lot of
damage".

The plane was an Antonov run by Trans Air Congo airline,
an airport source at the scene told AFP.

Police said the plane had been carrying four crew members
and five "clandestine" passengers.

"I can see smoke coming from the scene of the accident,"
Pointe-Noire resident Emile Mboussa, 39, told AFP.

"I can see ambulances passing. I do not know if they are
carrying dead or wounded."

Another witness, English teacher Serge Bakala, said the
plane came down between the Roy and Kitoko areas in the city`s
Mvou Mvou district.

The plane crashed yesterday in an area that includes the
district mayor`s office, the offices of a television station,
a private elementary and secondary school and a popular
stadium.

A witness told AFP that the city was "in shock. It`s
apocalyptic".
Trans Air Congo is a passenger and cargo airline based in
Brazzaville, the capital of the Republic of Congo which is
among the five top oil producers in sub-Saharan Africa.

The country has banned Antonov planes from carrying
passengers following previous accidents.

In June 2010, Australian mining tycoon Ken Talbot and 10
colleagues were killed in a plane crash in the northwest of
the country and in August 2009 six crew members were killed
when an Antonov cargo plane crashed at a cemetery on the
outskirts of Brazzaville.

PTI