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Many feared dead in DRC air crash

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BBC News - April 15, 2008

Dozens of people are feared dead after an airliner carrying at least 60 crashed after taking off from Goma in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. At least six survivors were pulled from the wreckage as rescuers fought a fire close to the end of the runway.

Dozens of people are feared dead after an airliner carrying at least 60 crashed after taking off from Goma in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.

At least six survivors were pulled from the wreckage as rescuers fought a fire close to the end of the runway.

The airliner belonged to the private airline Hewa Bora and had been en route to the capital Kinshasa.

DR Congo has one of the world's poorest air safety records with eight crashes in 2007, Reuters news agency notes.

'Buckets of water'

Reports say the plane hit a busy market.

"Half of the plane has broken off," one witness told Reuters.

"There is a fire towards the back. People are coming with buckets of water to put out the fire. The [United Nations] is here trying to keep back the crowds."

The witness added that one building had been destroyed and two others were charred by the fire.

Officials said six people had survived. They reportedly included the pilot and co-pilot.

Estimates for the number of people aboard range from 60 to 100, according to UN and aviation officials.

UN mission spokesman Kemal Saiki told Reuters news agency the passenger number was "60 to 70" while aviation officials quoted by AFP news agency said at least 100 passengers and crew had been aboard.

The type of aircraft was not immediately clear with some reports describing it as a DC-9 and others saying it was a Boeing 727.



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