36 die as plane crashes in centre of Congolese city

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THIRTY-SIX people died when a twin-propeller aircraft carrying passengers and cargo crashed in the eastern Congolese city of Goma, as it tried to land in bad weather.

The Fokker 50 aircraft, owned by private airline CAA, had 40 people on board and only four survived, Goma’s mayor, Naasson Kubuya, said.

The plane was flying from Lodja in East Kasai province in the centre of the country. It crashed in the centre of Goma, but it did not hit any people on the ground. “The pilot managed to avoid houses,” Mr Kubuya said.

“It’s a horrifying accident. The city of Goma has become a field of disasters. We sympathise with the families of the deceased.”

Democratic Republic of Congo has one of the world’s worst air-safety records. There have been numerous crashes in Goma, the main town in eastern Congo, where the runway has not been fully repaired after a volcanic eruption in 2002 left it covered in lava.

Last year, a plane crash in the city of Bukavu killed president Joseph Kabila’s personal adviser, Augustin Katumba.