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JUBA - 2 Nov 2021

Plane crash at Juba airport kills five

Photo: South Sudan Red Cross
Photo: South Sudan Red Cross

A cargo plane crash near Juba International Airport on Tuesday morning has left five people dead, airport officials have confirmed.

The incident occurred as the plane was taking off this morning heading to Maban County in Upper Nile State.

Kur Kuol, the director-general of Juba International Airport, told Radio Tamazuj that authorities have started investigating the incident which involved an Antonov-26 plane operated by Optimum Aviation.

"A South Sudanese who was a staff member of the airline company had drums of fuel and the other four were just crew members. Two Russians and 2 Sudanese were crew members," Kur said.

He revealed that the cargo plane had been chartered to carry fuel and other items.

Adau James Wuor, a Human Resources Officer at Optimum Aviation, said: "Five people have been confirmed dead so far, but we are still trying to get more information to update the media."

On its Facebook page, the South Sudan Red Cross said: “Our team is at the plane crash scene at Gondokoro, Juba. We have collected five bodies burned beyond recognition. We will hand the bodies to the authorities.”

 Several planes have crashed in recent years in South Sudan.

On 2 March 2021, a Let L-410 Turbolet of South Sudan Supreme Airlines crashed in Pieri, Uror County on a domestic flight to Yuai Airstrip, South Sudan.

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 crashed.