Seven die in Congo Republic air crash - govt

Wed Aug 26, 2009 10:08am EDT

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BRAZZAVILLE Aug 26 (Reuters) - Five Russian crew members and two Congolese passengers died on Wednesday when an Antonov 12 cargo plane crashed near the capital Brazzaville, Congo Republic's ministry of transport said.

The plane had taken off from Pointe Noire, the country's economic capital, at 0500 GMT and crashed an hour later about 20 km (12.5 miles) south of its destination, Brazzaville, Transport Minister Emile Ouosso told journalists on Wednesday.

"We have been to the site and we found that the 5 Russian crew members died, as well as two Congolese who were not on the manifest," Ouosso said.

The minister could not give any further details on the reason for the crash but investigators had been sent to the scene. Officials were also trying to confirm if there were any other passengers onboard.

Many in Central Africa rely on Antonov aircraft to travel around the region due to the lack of roads but crashes are frequent due ageing planes and the lack of maintenance.

In 2007, Congo's government banned passengers from travelling on Antonovs but the Antonov 12 cargo aircraft are still allowed to ferry goods the 500 km between Brazzaville and Pointe Noire. (Reporting by Christian Tsoumou; Editing by David Lewis)





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