26 Feared Dead After Congo Plane Crash

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Thu May 26 2005, 11:39 AM
26 Feared Dead After Congo Plane Crash
26 Feared Dead After Congo Plane Crash
Thursday, May 26, 2005

KINSHASA, Congo "” Twenty-six people were missing and feared dead after a plane crashed in eastern Congo (search), an aviation official said Thursday.

The plane disappeared shortly after takeoff Wednesday and was found later by U.N. helicopters in the dense forests near Walungu, said Raymond Sangara, coordinator of Congo's civil aviation authority.

All 21 passengers aboard were Congolese traders, including women and children, said Sangara. The pilot was Russian and the four crew members were Ukrainian, he said.

Sangara said authorities feared all had died, but a search for any survivors and the recovery of the dead would soon begin.

The plane had lost contact with the radio tower three minutes after leaving the eastern town of Goma. It was bound for Kindu, some 240 miles to the southwest.

Walungu is about 75 miles south of Goma, and farther east of the flight path.

On Monday, militiamen killed 18 people and kidnapped 50 others in Ninja, an area some nine miles north of Walungu.,2933,157754,00.html