Russian Cargo Plane Crashes In South Sudan, 41 People Reported Dead, Several On The Ground

Just three days after 224 people died in the crash of a Russian passenger jet, we are now getting reports of another airplane crash from Africa. In yet another plane crash involving a Russian aircraft, a Russian-built Antonov AN-12 cargo plane crashed in South Sudan shortly after takeoff, killing at least 41 people.

According to CNN, the plane took off from an airport in the city of Juba in South Sudan and crashed shortly thereafter. Initial reports stated that there were 19 people on board the plane, 17 of whom were confirmed dead. However, subsequent reports have said that there were more people on the plane than previously thought. Several people were also killed on the ground when the plane crashed. Initial reports say a group of fishermen near the river were killed when the plane crash landed near them. The deaths have been confirmed to CNN by a South Sudanese presidential spokesman.

According to Ateny Wek Ateny, press secretary in the South Sudan president’s office, two people on board the plane, including a child, had a miraculous escape. The age of the child has not been determined yet. The other person to survive the crash has also not been identified yet. Initial reports say that there were four crew members, all Russian, and 15 South Sudanese passengers on board the ill-fated aircraft. The cause of the crash is being investigated. Initial reports, however, point towards the possibility of engine failure because the plane crashed shortly after takeoff. According to initial eyewitness reports, they saw one engine fail just before the plane crashed.

Meanwhile, a BBC News report says that the plane crashed approximately 100 yards from the banks of the White Nile river in the midst of reeds and weeds. Several photos showing parts of the disintegrated plane and its charred wreckage strewn around a large area have been shared on social media networks.

The crash happened at around 9 a.m. local time on Wednesday. According to initial reports, the Russian plane was on its way from Juba to another South Sudanese town, Paloich, which is famous for its oil fields. This latest plane crash comes on the heels of the MetroJet crash in Egypt, the cause of which has not been determined yet. Hours after that crash, there were claims from the ISIS that they had brought down the plane. That claim has, however, been refuted by Russia and aviation experts. Meanwhile, it has now been established that the plane belonged to freight and logistics firm Allied Services Ltd and bore the registration number EY406.

The chief executive of the Civil Aviation Authority at Juba airport, Stephen Warikozi said that they have rushed a team of experts to the crash site where they will begin the process of recovering the bodies of the victims.

“We have secured the site of crash and also we 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.” he said.

[Image via Igor Dvurekov / Wikimedia Commons]

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