All plane occupants die in Namibia crash

Sunday, December 1, 2013

The wreckage of a crashed plane carrying by various reports 33 or 34 occupants has been found in Namibia but none of its passengers or crew survived, police in the country said yesterday. LAM Mozambique Airlines Flight 470 took off from the Mozambique capital's airport at 11:26 CAT (0926 UTC) Friday and was scheduled to reach an airport in Luanda, the capital of Angola, at 14:10 WAT (1310 UTC).

The remains of the plane were discovered at Bwabwata National Park in Namibia, close to the borders between Angola and Botswana. Kavango Region police coordinator Willie Bampton reportedly said yesterday: "My team on the ground have found the wreckage. No survivors. The plane is totally burned". A nearby game ranger with the surname Shinonge described bodies being "scattered all over the place", adding, "It's a horrible sight". Shinonge also said investigators managed to find and recover the aircraft's black boxes.

In the immediate aftermath of the incident, when the aircraft's exact location was unknown, LAM Mozambique Airlines stated: "Information obtained indicates that the flight has landed in a location in Northern Namibia, bordering Angola and Botswana near a place called Rundu." However, the airline later confirmed the plane had in fact crashed. "At this time, our thoughts and prayers are with the families and loved ones of the passengers and crew who were on board the aircraft. LAM has established family assistance centres at Maputo and Luanda airports to support the families who are naturally distressed", a further statement from the company said. Authorities from Namibia, Angola, Botswana, and South Africa were thanked by the airline for their assistance in the search for the plane.

The plane reportedly had a crew of six and 27 or 28 passengers. Ten of the passengers were Mozambique nationals, while nine were from Angola and five were from Portugal. One passenger from each of France, Brazil and China were also onboard.

The exact cause of the crash is unknown, although officials in Mozambique said weather and visibility were poor on Friday. In a statement, LAM Mozambique Airlines said: "We do not have any information on the circumstances of the accident and we cannot speculate on possible causes as the investigators must be given the time and space to do their work without interference or prejudice."