PLANE WHICH CRASHED IN DR CONGO MONDAY HAD REFUELED AT UGANDA’S ENTEBBE AIRPORT

KAMPALA, Dec 31 — A passenger plane which crashed in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) on Monday is not a Ugandan aircraft although it had earlier refueled at Entebbe Airport near here, a Ugandan aviation official says.

The Antonov 26 twin-engined turboprop aircraft, registered as 4L AFF, crashed within minutes of take-off from Bujumbura Airport in Burundi’s capital, killing all six people on board.

The Uganda Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) deputy spokesperson, Vianne Luggya, confirmed here Tuesday that the plane refueled at Entebbe Airport before proceeding to Bujumbura on Sunday.

Technical landing requests are made in cases of aircraft refueling or emergency repairs. Details of the plane’s brief stop at Entebbe were not revealed.

“They (crew) made a technical landing request, which we authorised. The plane landed safely at 5:23 am and departed at 11:09 am,” Luggya told New Vision.

The plane’s flight plans showed that it was heading from Bujumbura to Pointe-Noire in neighbouring Republic of Congo. The cause of the accident is under investigation and the nationalities of the victims had not been identified by Monday.

Sources quoting DRC military spokesman Colonel Olivier Hamuli said the plane was flying at low altitude when it struck Kafinda Mountain and immediately caught fire.

Authorities said both the plane and the six people on board were burnt beyond recognition. The area of the accident is about 25 kilometres from Uvira City in South Kivu Province of the eastern DRC.

New Vision has learnt that the plane was operated by AG Air and was using flight number AGS 902. The country where the company is registered was not immediately established.

“We do not have all the details since the accident did not occur in our airspace and the aircraft is not a Uganda-registered plane,” Luggya explained.

The Congolese army and police have cordoned off the scene of the plane crash and arrangements are underway to remove the wreckage and bodies of the deceased.

SOURCE: NEW VISION

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