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At least 10 dead after plane crash near Kisangani

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KINSHASA, 5 May 2005 (IRIN) - A cargo aircraft crashed in northeastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) on Wednesday killing 10 people on board. There was one survivor, a UN official told IRIN.

However, some news organizations reported 12 dead. There were no reports of people injured or killed on the ground.

The Antonov-26 propeller aircraft crashed 28 km northeast of Kisangani, capital of Orientale Province, Raymond Mokeni, the chief executive officer of Kisangani Airlift, the company that leased the aircraft, said.

"The plane was heading for the town of Isiro when it lost radio contact. As it was returning to Kisangani its propeller hit a tree and the plane lost control," he said from Kisangani.

There is no official ruling yet from air crash investigators or the agency responsible for aviation in the country as to the possible cause of the crash. The Russian-built Antonov was owned by a company registered in the United Arabs Emirates called Aero World.

Four of the aircraft's crew were Russian; one was Congolese. Also on board were six Congolese civilian passengers, Mokeni said.

"The army and government aviation authorities forced us to take them," he said.




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