abc.net.au- At least 29 people have been killed when a small plane crashed after take-off into a densely populated area of the city of Goma in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
One person aboard the plane survived the crash and was taken to hospital along with 16 others injured on the ground, the North Kivu regional government said on Sunday (local time)
“At this stage, 29 bodies have been found in the rubble,” the statement said.
The propeller plane, which was operated by local company Busy Bee, crashed shortly after take-off en route to the city of Beni, about 250 kilometres to the north, officials said.
The Busy Bee Dornier 228-200 was carrying 19 people, including 17 passengers and two crew members.
Busy Bee, a recently established company, has three planes serving routes in the North Kivu province.
The pilot “failed in his take-off”, the region’s governor Carly Nzanzu Kasivita said in a statement.
‘The fire was so powerful’
Joseph Makundi, coordinator of rescue services in Goma, said dozens of bodies had been recovered so far, including those of several people who were on the ground and were hit by falling debris.”I was at a restaurant with my family when I saw the plane spinning three times in the air and emitting a lot of smoke,” eyewitness Djemo Medar said.
“After that, we saw the plane crash into this house,” he said, pointing to a nearby building.
“We know the pilot. His name is Didier. He was shouting, ‘help me, help me.’ But we had no way to get to him because the fire was so powerful,” Mr Medar added.
At the crash site, residents threw water from buckets and cooking pots onto the smouldering wreckage.
The rear section of the plane rested sideways, propped up by a wall, videos posted on social media showed.
Police arrested a man for stealing cash from the rubble and fired warning shots to disperse people who had started looting, he said.
All Congolese commercial carriers, including Busy Bee, are banned from operating in the European Union.
A cargo plane departing from the same airport, carrying staff members of President Felix Tshisekedi, crashed an hour after take-off last month, killing all eight people on board.