A Russian-made Antonov cargo plane, that had also been carrying some passengers, crashed and killed a at least 41 people in Juba, South Sudan, shortly after taking off on Wednesday (Nov. 4) from the capital’s airport, Reuters reports.
“Cargo plane heading to Paloch in Upper Nile State crashed just 800 metres from Juba International Airport runway,” Radio Miraya, a local station, reported.
Among those killed are five Russian crew members and seven passengers on board, a local media outlet said on Twitter.
The two survivors mentioned include a crew member and a child, Ateny Wek Ateny, a presidential spokesman, told Reuters. ”We don’t know the number of people that were killed on the ground,” he said.
But a police officer on the scene put the number of those killed at 41, while also suggesting that the number of fatalities could rise, according to Reuters.
The reason the number of the dead is higher than the estimated people onboard is due to the fact that the plane crashed near the White Nile River bank where fishermen were reportedly working.
While it may be too early to say definitively what may have caused the crash, local media is speculating over-crowding may have contributed to the accident.
Bodies of of the dead were seen being pulled out of the wreckage of the crashed plane, an AFP reporter on the scene said.
It has been a horrific week for Russian planes in Africa. On Saturday, a Russian Metrojet flying from the Egyptian resort of Sharm El-Sheikh to St. Petersburg crashed in Egypt’s Sinai province killing 224 people onboard. The cause of that accident is still unknown.