Plane crash in Equatorial Guinea kills 55

Sunday, July 17, 2005

An Equatair plane carrying 55 people crashed on Saturday soon after take-off near the capital of Equatorial Guinea, Malabo. Witnesses told AFP the Antonov aircraft bound for Bata suddenly caught fire and crashed in a forest near Baney, a town some 19km from the capital. "No one survived -- the plane was destroyed," said Alfonso Nsue Mokuy, the Information minister of E Guinea, after rescue teams arrived at the crash site on Sunday.

The old propeller-machine took off at about 10am local time (9am UTC) and disappeared from the radar soon after, officials said.

Flying in Africa is considerably more dangerous than in other parts of the world. While accounting for only 3% of worldwide air traffic, 27% of all fatal airplane crashes occur in Africa according to Dutch-based Aviation Safety Network. This is blamed on the chronic under-investment many airline companies on the continent suffer from.