Another Antonov "Flying Coffin" Crashes in the DR Congo

An official in the Democratic Republic of Congo's South Kivu province reported that an Antonov 28 Cargo plane operated by the aviation charter company TRACEP Congo Aviation crashed in the forests shortly before landing and all the five passengers on board are presumed dead.

Laban Kyalangalilwa, the minister in charge of transportation in South Kivu province, said on Tuesday the plane took off from the city of Bukavu's Bukavu-Kamenbe Airport at 07:45 on Monday and was due to land at Namoya Airstrip in the town of Namoya an hour later. The plane never arrived. He said a second plane was sent to survey the route, and they found what looked like the debris of the Antonov about 10km away from the Namoya runway. He said that there were at least five people on board. He could not confirm whether any had survived, but said that it was unlikely given the degree of debris at the crash site. 

The DRC has experienced its fair share of aviation accidents and fatal incidents due to the prevalence of old poorly maintained and  unairworthy aircraft, most of them of the Soviet era or acquired from other airlines and aviation companies. Due to the poor road and rail network, many mining companies in the Congo use aircraft to transport workers and minerals and most of these are used aircraft acquired from other aviation companies. The country is a dumping ground for used aircraft. It will take some time for the DRC to a construct a modern civil aviation infrastructure and phase out its notorious "flying coffins".

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