Congolese plane crashes in Gabon
At least three people were killed when an Antonov cargo plane flying from the Republic of Congo crashed in Gabon's heavily forested region of Ndjole after having equipment problems, sources said Saturday.
Residents discovered three bodies around the crash scene, some 250 kilometers southeast of Libreville, but the plane, which went down in an area not easily accessible, was believed to have been carrying six people.
A private television station in Congo-Brazzaville reported that six people, all Congolese nationals, were aboard the Antonov 24 cargo plane.
Owned by a company from Cameroon, the aircraft had been leased to the Congolese company Pont Aviation Limited, but the contract was canceled after the company ran into financial difficulties and the Antonov was to be transferred to another Congolese company, DRTV said.
The aircraft was heading to the Cameroon city of Douala via Gabon when it crashed. It reported a breakdown in its navigation equipment before crashing, according to a source in Ndjole.
The aircraft "had a breakdown in its navigation equipment. When the pilot made his distress call, he had 20 minutes' flying time," said the source.
"The pilot searched for a place to land but it was night and he did not know the area. He circled the town four times, and on the fifth he crashed into the hill," the source added.
Meanwhile, one resident told AFP, "We think the victims jumped from the aircraft before it crashed". “Several neighbors and I went to the dirt landing strip to light it up with our vehicles' headlights and help the pilot to identify it," so he could land, one resident said.
"The plane saw that the airstrip was lit up, made a last turn and tried to fly over it, was unable to land and there are hills right opposite," he said. "A few seconds later, we saw a ball of fire fall from the hills." (Albawaba.com)
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