Over 120 feared dead in freak air accident

KINSHASA, Republic of the Congo, May 9 (UPI) -- More than 120 people were feared dead in the Democratic Republic of Congo after being sucked out of a cargo plane, the British Broadcasting Corp. reported Friday.

It said that according to Congolese military officials, the rear ramp of a Russian-built Ilyushin-76 became detached about 45 minutes after take-off from the capital, Kinshasa, on Thursday night.


The plane had been chartered by the Congolese military and was flying from Kinshasa to Congo's second city, Lubumbashi.

Kinshasa airport sources told the BBC that only the Russian crew members survived. The crew was able to turn the plane around and return to Kinshasa airport following the incident.

The BBC's Mark Dummett in Kinshasa said there are often plane accidents in the vast country.

Because of the poor road conditions and the terrible state of the economy, according to Dummett, any journey over a distance requires a hair-raising ride in a poorly maintained aircraft.

Many of the planes are old Soviet military aircraft, the BBC reported, with passengers and cargo crammed in the back.

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