Update: DRC Cargo plane crashes with presidential staff on board

Congo DR official cargo plane missing with 8 people on board

A Russian made cargo plane Antonov 72 carrying DR Congo’s presidential staff crashed in eastern Congo on Thursday, and all eight passengers and crew are feared dead, a presidential adviser told Reuters on Friday.

The plane, carrying President Felix Tshisekedi’s driver, a logistics manager and some soldiers, was headed from Goma to the capital Kinshasa, when it went off radar on Thursday afternoon, an hour after departing, a statement from the civil aviation authority said.

Debris of the plane has been found but the passengers are still missing, said adviser Vidiye Tshimanga. He had told Reuters earlier on Friday that eight bodies had been found but said that information was incorrect.

The cause of the accident was not yet clear.

Aircraft accidents involving Antonovs are regular occurance in the Democratic Republic of Congo with sometimes heavy human casualties.

In September 2017, the crash of an Antonov army killed 12 people after taking off from Kinshasa airport.

The deadliest crash of an Antonov in the DRC was back in January 1996: the aircraft had missed its takeoff because of the overload and crashed into a market in Kinshasa, killing nearly 350 people.

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