At least 27 people were killed in an aircraft crash in the Democratic Republic of Congo’s eastern city of Goma on Sunday. The 19-seater plane plunged into residential homes in Goma’s Mapendo district shortly after it took off from the airport, reported Reuters.
Owned by private carrier Busy Bee, the Dornier 228-200 aircraft was headed to Beni, about 350km (220 miles) north of Goma.
“There were 17 passengers on board and two crew members,” Busy Bee airline staff member Heritier Said Mamadou said. “It took off around 9 to 9.10 am.”
Nzanzu Kasivita, North Kivu’s regional governor, said the sole survivor among the 19 people including 17 passengers and two crew members who were aboard the plane, was taken to hospital along with 16 others injured on the ground. He offered condolences to the families of those killed in the incident.
It remains unclear how many residents were in their homes when the plane crashed. There’s also no word yet on what might have caused the accident.
In an interview with Reuters, a witness of the plane crash, Djemo Medar, said he saw the plane spinning three times in the air and emitting a lot of smoke.
“When the plane crashed many of us rushed there, 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,” he said.
Established in 2007, Busy Bee Congo is a domestic charter carrier that has three planes serving routes in North Kivu province.
Notably, all Congolese commercial carriers, including Busy Bee, are banned from operating in the European Union because of lax safety standards, poor maintenance, and frequent accidents. Last month, a cargo plane crashed an hour after take-off, killing all eight people on board.