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Deadly plane crash kills five in Juba

Debris of the plane at the scene of the incident/Photo: Denis Logonyi

By Philip Buda Ladu

All people onboard a cargo plane including the pilot have been reported dead on Tuesday morning after a cargo plane crashed into ashes at Gondokoro Island, Mori village east of the River Nile. The plane crashed shortly after takeoff from Juba International Airport. Kur Kuol, the Director General of Juba International Airport, confirmed the fatal incident to No. 1 Citizen Daily Newspaper on Tuesday morning following the reported incident with sketchy details after visiting the scene of the crash. He said the cargo plane whose registration is yet to be established had five people onboard including the pilot and it was loaded with goods destined for Maban in Upper Nile State before it’s unfortunate crash at Gondokoro Island, eastern bank of the Nile.

Kur said the aircraft reportedly belongs to Optimum Aviation but has been rented to a local aviation company called Euro Airline which was the one operating the cargo plane at the period leading to its crash. “We will get the details of the plane crush after investigation but I heard that there were some drums of fuel in the plane. The plane had five people onboard and none of them survived,” Kur Kuol, the Director General of JIA affirmed. He allegedly said the cargo airport was supposed to carry a maximum of 5 tons but he didn’t know the quantity of the cargo loaded to the plane at the time it took off.

The Juba International Airport (JIA), Director General said plane crash should have been nearly very disastrous as it fell near a small village called Mori in Gondokoro Island as it burst into flames, burnt into ashes and consumed some livestock in the vicinity where it fell. “Actually it should have been very bad because it (plane) just fell next to a small village where there were some huts, but there were some goats who were near the houses it killed them in a place called Mori in the Gondokoro area next to the Electricity power station,” Kur said.

Marial Mayom, the Spokesperson of the South Sudan Red Cross said they Emergency Action Team responded and rushed to the scene and have recovered the five bodies. “We have recovered five bodies, initially we recovered four and we continued searching until we got the number five. The burning of the four is beyond recognition but one person can be recognized,” he said. “We have taken the bodies to Juba Military Hospital and we handed them to the mortuary.”

Previous crashes

South Sudan had experienced a series of plane crash since gaining independence in 2011. In March this year, at least 10 people died in a plane crash (HK-4274 of South Sudan Supreme Airline in Pieri Payam-Uror County of Jonglei State. In August last year, a cargo plane belonging to a local operator also crashed near Kemiru village killing four passengers and three crew members. In 2015, 36 people were killed when a Soviet era Antonov plane crashed in an island after takeoff from Juba. Also, in 2017, 37 people survived after their plane hit a fire truck on a runway in Wau before bursting into flames. Nineteen people were killed in 2018 when a small aircraft carrying passengers from Juba to Yirol crashed.

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