Congo crash claims 33 lives, injures 80


(eTN) – Sad news have reached from the Eastern Congolese town of Goma that shortly after take-off a Kinshasa-based DC9 early generation crashed into a residential area beyond the airport runway, leaving most passengers and crew dead and a number of casualties on the ground.

Early reports indicate that at least some passengers and crew actually survived the crash, but this information is yet to be confirmed, as communications are very poor. So far, it is being estimated that at least 33 have died and another 80 were injured.

According to eyewitness accounts, the aircraft failed to gain altitude on take-off and crashed within a short distance of being airborne.

The flight, according to reports, belonged to Hewa Bora Airways, a locally incorporated airline with a hitherto reasonable safety record.

The airline had entered into a joint venture with Brussels Airlines last year. That cooperation resulted to the formation of a new carrier, Air DC, via an intermediate Mauritius-based investment company holding 49 percent.

Hewa Bora was so far the only airline permitted by the European Union to fly to Europe, as all other airlines in Congo remain banned and on the EU blacklist over serious safety concerns. This may now be subject to a review, however, following this crash.
Congo has one of the most dismal of aviation safety records in the world and has in recent years suffered many accidents, often with former Soviet Union aged aircraft. Many crash causes were later established to be lack of proper maintenance or poorly trained crew, and while revolving door changes at the helm of the responsible Ministry of Transport do regularly take place, this latest crash once again underscores that nothing fundamental has changed within Congo’s political oversight.

No further details on the cause of the crash are available right now, until air accident investigators have reached the scene, recovered the black boxes and commenced collecting evidence from witnesses and from the scene of the latest air disaster.