Dec. 1 - A cargo plane crashed into houses in Congo while attempting to land in a thunderstorm. Deborah Gembara reports.
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The body of a cargo plane that crashed in Congo. Locals in Brazzaville say the cargo plane slammed into several houses as it tried to land at a nearby airport during a thunderstorm.
Rescue officials say at least 30 people are dead including the the plane's six crew members.
Many watched as teams searched the debris for survivors. Pieces of the charred aircraft were strewn throughout the area. Some speculated the plane may have been struck by lighting. Officials say at least 20 people were injured.
A cargo plane crashed into houses near the Brazzaville Maya-Maya airport while attempting to land in a thunderstorm on Friday (November 30), killing at least 32 people.
Local Red Cross and rescue officials said on Saturday (December 1) they believed the death toll could rise to more than sixty.
The Soviet-made Ilyushin-76 cargo plane, operated by local carrier Trans Air Congo was travelling from Pointe-Noire, the commercial capital of the Central African state.
It crashed into more than a dozen houses near the airport before falling into a nearby ravine.
Residents of the area were visibly shaken.
"We were watching a movie on the computer, and suddenly I heard a loud bang, and I saw that the roof and the bricks had fallen on us, and then there was a second loud noise, and I thought that it was the plane that had fallen, because there was lightning and surely it is the lightning that hit the plane, " said one resident.
"We saw a lot of smoke, flames, and after the area was totally deserted because there was a toxic smell... It was horrible to see, what we see in the movies is what we experienced yesterday from six until ten o'clock p.m.," said Ngoma Jean Sergent, a resident of the Makazou neighbourhood.
Witnesses said that more than twenty people were injured and taken to various hospitals, including nearby Makélékélé.
Congo Republic, like its neighbour the Democratic Republic of Congo and many countries in the region, has one of the world's poorest aviation safety records due to poor maintenance and the use of old planes banned from other skies.
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