Update: US Sends Condolences After DR Congo Plane Crash
The United States voiced its condolences Monday after a plane operated by the UN mission in Democratic Republic of Congo crashed on landing at Kinshasa airport, killing at least 16 people on board.
"We're deeply saddened to learn of the loss of life in the UN-contracted plane that was flying into Kinshasa," State Department spokesman Mark Toner said.
"Our deepest condolences go out to the families of the victims. We understand that rescue operations continue on the ground," he said, adding it was not yet known if any of the victims were Americans.
The Fokker 100 plane flying from eastern Goma smashed into pieces when it hit the runway in the capital as the pilot tried to land in torrential rain.
There were 29 passengers and three crew on board. An AFP correspondent saw 16 bodies brought out of the wreckage, and an airport official said three or four survivors had been rescued.
Thirty-two people died when a UN plane crashed in the Democratic Republic of Congo capital on Monday, a UN spokesman said, giving the first official toll.
Thirty-two people died when a UN plane crashed as it tried to land in torrential rain in the Democratic Republic of Congo capital on Monday, a UN spokesman said.
It is one of the worst disasters ever involving UN transport.
"We can now confirm that there was only one survivor from the 33 people on the MONUSCO plane which crashed today," UN deputy spokesman Farhan Haq said.
The Fokker 100 plane, run by the UN mission in DR Congo, MONUSCO, smashed into pieces when it hit the runway as the pilot tried to land in torrential rain, witnesses said.
The plane was carrying UN officials and peacekeepers travelling from the northeastern city of Kisangani to Kinshasa's N'Djili airport, according to a MONUSCO statement.
Plane accidents are common in DR Congo, but this is the first involving UN transport.
The United Nations has a fleet of more than a dozen planes in the country to transport MONUSCO personnel, journalists and staff of international and local non-governmental organizations.