Cargo plane crashes near Khartoum; at least four dead

Monday, June 30, 2008

A file photo of an Il-76 landing in Iraq

An Ilyushin Il-76 cargo jetliner has crashed minutes after takeoff from Sudan's Khartoum International Airport. The crew consisted of seven Russians, at least four of which are dead. It is thought there are no survivors.

"The plane crashed in an empty area about one or two kilometres from the airport," according to an anonymous witness, who went on to say "Parts of the plane are lying everywhere. There are huge patches of dark engine oil." The plane belonged to local firm Ababiel and was headed to Southern Sudan capital Juba.

The plane is reported to have caught fire and exploded after the crash at 8:00 am.

The crash is the fourth major air crash this year in Sudan, and the second within a week. On Friday a Juba Air Cargo Antonov An-12 crash killed seven. Earlier, 27 were killed in another crash including two Southern Sudanese ministers, and Sudan Airways lost a plane at Khartoum International, with at least 30 dead. Flag carrier Sudan Airways were grounded over unrelated safety failings.