An Antonov An-12 cargo plane crashed in a suburb of the Congo Republic city of Pointe-Noire on Monday, with 23 fatalities.
“Ambulances are shuttling bodies to the mortuary and the wounded to the hospital,” one witness told Reuters on Monday. “The damage is significant.” France’s RFI radio initially said at least 14 had been killed but did not give a more precise toll. Congo’s National Civil Aviation Agency later said that 23 people were killed, including the four Russian crew. Another 14 people were injured on the ground.
The witness said the plane had been preparing to land at the airport in the coastal city but then veered out seawards before crashing on several buildings in the Mvou Mvou suburb. It levelled several houses and started a fire that burnt for hours. Video evidence has shown that the Antonov An-12 freighter dived steeply and then rolled to the right before crashing inverted. It appears that only two of its four engines were running at the time.
The An-12 was operated By Trans Air Cargo and was built in 1963. In addition to the four Russian crew, there were also five passengers on board, police said.
In 2009 a similar Antonov cargo plane crashed in countryside just outside Brazzaville, killing its crew. After several crashes, Antonovs are no longer allowed to carry passengers in Congo. Some crews do allow passengers aboard if they pay a fee, news.com.au reports.