Goma air crash leaves 27 dead


At least 27 people were killed, including some on the ground, when an aircraft crashed into a densely populated neighbourhood in Goma in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, a rescue official said.

The propeller plane, operated by local company Busy Bee, crashed shortly after take-off en route to Beni, 250 km north, officials said.

The company said the 19-seater Dornier 228-200 had 16 passengers and two crew members on board.

There is no word yet on what might have caused the accident.

Joseph Makundi, co-ordinator of rescue services in Goma, told Reuters 27 bodies were recovered, including those of people hit by falling debris.

“I was at a restaurant with my family when I saw the plane spinning in the air and emitting smoke,” said Djemo Medar, an eyewitness in Goma’s Mapendo neighbourhood. “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.’ We had no way to reach him because the fire too powerful,” Medar said.

At the crash site, residents threw water from buckets and cooking pots onto 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 wreckage and fired warning shots to disperse people looting, he said.

Air accidents are relatively frequent in Congo because of lax safety standards and poor maintenance. All Congolese commercial carriers, including Busy Bee, are banned from operating in the European Union.