Plane crash kills ten in Angola

Saturday, January 19, 2008

This aircraft is similar to the one in the disaster.

At least ten people on board have died in a plane crash on a mountain near Huambo, Angola. There are no survivors, and some sources place the death toll at 11 and others 12. It is thought that two of the deceased were Portuguese businessmen. Angola is a former colony of Portugal.

The Beechcraft King Air B200 twin-propeller aircraft registered D2-FFK had departed capital city Luanda at 1 a.m. EST on a 450 km (280 mile) domestic flight to Huambo. It belonged to Aeronautica, the trading name of Gira Globo, an Angolan charter company. The crash occurred at around 0800 local time.

It is reported that prior to the crash the plane had attempted to land at two different local airports. A team from the Angolan Armed Forces based near the scene responded to the accident.

Celso Rosas, head of the national aviation centre, said adverse weather conditions may have played a role in the crash. Rain and fog were reported at the time. A full investigation has been ordered by André Luís Brandão, Angola's transport minister. This is to be headed by his deputy, Hélder Presa.

The Portuguese were identified as Vasco Mendes and Nuno Marques. Early reports suggest that Valentim Amoes, chairman of Gira Globo, is also amongst the dead.

Inadequate maintenance is the main cause of the nation's poor aviation safety record. Last year, flag carrier TAAG Angola was added to the list of air carriers banned in the EU, and just hours after the news suffered a crash that killed six.