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JUBA - 4 Mar 2021

Kiir orders suspension of South Supreme planes after deadly crash

South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir has ordered the suspension of South Supreme Airlines after one of its planes crashed in Jonglei State on Tuesday, killing all people on board.

On Tuesday evening, a commercial plane belonging to a local operator, South Supreme Airlines crashed within minutes of takeoff from Pieri airstrip in Uror County of Jonglei State.

The aircraft landed safely at Pieri Payam and was taking off to head to Yuai town and then to the capital Juba when the accident took place at 5 pm.

According to reports from officials, 10 people including two pilots sadly lost their lives. They identify the aircraft as being registered HK-4274.

In an order read out on the state-owned SSBC on Wednesday, President Kiir directed the country’s Transport Ministry and Civil Aviation Authority to suspend operations of the airline in the country until the cause of its plane crash is established.

“This measure is necessary for these institutions to ascertain airworthiness of the remaining South Supreme planes. It is also a necessary step to restoring public confidence in air travel in the country,” Kiir said in the order.

The president sent condolences to the families and friends of those who died in the plane crash, saying the entire country stands in solidarity with all South Sudanese affected by the crash accident.

The latest plane crash is the second such incident reported involving an aircraft operated by the same airline.

The first occurred in 2017 when a South Sudan Supreme Airlines aircraft caught fire and made a crash landing, but there were no fatalities.

In August 2020, eight people lost their lives, while a single passenger survived with injuries when a cargo plane crashed into a farm in the Kemeru area minutes after it took off from the Juba International Airport.

In 2015, 36 people were killed when a Soviet-era Antonov plane crashed just after takeoff from Juba.

In 2017, 37 people had a miraculous escape after their plane hit a fire truck on a runway in Wau before bursting into flames.

19 people were killed in 2018 when a small aircraft carrying passengers from Juba to Yirol town crashed.