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Air crash: 53 feared dead after botched landing

Rescuers pulled 40 survivors from the wreckage of the flight, which came down in heavy weather in the DR Congo.

Kisangani, where the crash took place
Kisangani, where the crash took place
Image: Julien Harneis via Flickr

A PASSENGER JET carrying more than 100 people crashed as it tried to land at an airport in the Democratic Republic of Congo today, according to reports.

Rescuers pulled 40 survivors from the wreckage of the plane at Kisangani airport. However, Hewa Bora airline chief executive Stavros Papaioannou told Reuters that 53 people had been killed. “The pilot tried to land but apparently they didn’t touch the runway,” he said.

There were 112 people aboard the Boeing 727, which was a domestic flight from Congo’s capital Kinshasa.  Sabiti Mwamba, head of the Congolese Aviation Authority, said the crash was “due to the bad weather at the moment when the plane was landing.”

Hewa Bora, which means ‘Fresh Air’ in Swahili, has a history of crashes. In April 2008, one of their DC-9s rammed into a bustling market after failing to lift off from Goma’s airport, killing at least 40 people, most of them on the ground. A few months later in September, a Hewa Bora plane carrying 17 people went down in inclement weather killing all on board.

- Additional reporting by AP

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