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Home >> World
UPDATED: 14:01, September 11, 2005
13 killed in plane crash in Congo
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Another Antonov 26 aircraft crashed north of Brazzaville, capital of the neighboring Republic of Congo early Saturday, killing all the 13 people aboard, officials said.

This was the fourth air accident involving planes of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) in less than a week.

The Ukrainian-made plane operated by Air Kasai was flying from Boende in the northwestern Equateur Province to Kinshasa, capital of the DRC, according to the DRC aviation regulatory authority, RVA.

Flight supervisors lost contact with the aircraft late Friday as it was flying through a fierce storm. On early Saturday, the plane crashed on the plain on its descent to Kinshasa airport across the river in the DRC, the country's Transport Minister Eva Mwakasa said.

The cause of the latest crash was not immediately clear, but officials speculated that bad weather and the aging plane may havebeen to blame.

This was the fourth air accident within a week involving planesof the DRC, and the second one for the aging Antonov 26.

On Monday, an AN-26 of the private Galaxie company struck a tree as it was landing at Isiro, in the northeast of the vast country. All 11 people aboard, including three crew members, were killed.

The following day, a Beechcraft Baron 58 of the Flying Air Service company crashed on landing at Goma airport in eastern DRC after a test flight. The French pilot later died of injuries.

On Thursday, three people were slightly injured in the forced landing of an aircraft belonging to Transport de Message du Kivu at Murandi airport, also in eastern DRC.

After a series of fatal accidents, the DRC government decided on Friday to reinforce flight regulations and banned flights of 33of the country's 51 private aviation companies before they can meet the safety standards.

The government also announced measures for more frequent aircraft inspections and the grounding of all aircraft more than 20 years old.

But many doubt whether tighter regulations would be implemented smoothly, as more than half of the aircraft in the war-torn country are over 20 years old.

Source: Xinhua

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