At least 36 people were killed on Wednesday when a plane crashed shortly after taking off from South Sudan’s capital Juba, rescue workers said.
Police and rescue workers pulled bodies of men, women and children out of the wreckage of the Russian-built Antonov An-12 cargo plane, which smashed into a farming community on an island on the White Nile river, seconds after taking off.
“So far 36 bodies have been collected and brought to hospitals,” South Sudan Red Cross official Majju Hillary said, adding that all those killed had been on board the airplane.
Two survivors were pulled out of the twisted metal hulk of the plane but one of those later died, with a young boy the only survivor, the Red Cross said, adding the number of dead may still rise. “We can’t assess this is the final toll, as some debris is too heavy to be lifted and needs some heavy machinery,” Hillary added.
The five-member Armenian crew were all killed, the Armenian embassy in Egypt said in a statement. Cargo planes to remote parts of South Sudan often carry passengers as well as goods.
The main fuselage of the plane ploughed into thick woodland, with debris scattered around the riverbank in a wide area, according to an AFP reporter at the site.
Radio Miraya, a UN-backed station, said the plane had been heading to the northern Upper Nile state, crashing some “just 800 metres from Juba International Airport runway.”