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11 die in Isiro plane crash

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KINSHASA, 6 Sep 2005 (IRIN) - An Antonov 26 aircraft crashed at the town of Isiro in the Democratic Republic of Congo's northeastern province of Orientale, killing eleven people, a UN spokesman said.

The Soviet-era propeller aircraft was approaching Isiro's landing strip in poor visibility and hit a tree before crashing 1,500 metres short of the threshold, Kemal Saika, the spokesman for the UN Mission in the DRC, said. The aircraft was flying from Beni, in North-Kivu Province, to Isiro.

Local Red Cross workers were at the site to recover the remains of the crash victims, Kemal said.

Local civil aviation officials in Isiro did not give further details on the crash but Kamel said the aircraft had a crew of three Russians and a Congolese. All four passengers were local traders with seven tonnes of merchandise in the plane's cargo hold.

The plane was registered to a private aviation company called Galaxie which is also known by the name Kavatshi, Kamel said.

In recent years several former Soviet aircraft have crashed in eastern Congo. The same model An-26 crashed on 4 May also on its way to Isiro; an An-12 crashed on 25 May in the Walungu Mountains, South Kivu Province.

[DRC: At least 10 dead after plane crash near Kisangani]

[DRC: Aircraft crashes in Walungu, 26 feared dead]




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