A cargo aircraft crashed near Malakal in South Sudan shortly after take-off today but nobody is reported to have died in the crash and a crew of four people were rescued.
According to a South Sudanese eyewitness working for an international organization, the aircraft crashed about 2 km from the runway into the Nile River.
The witness who helped respond to the air crash said he saw the aircraft burning in the river and that four crew were rescued from the water by SPLA soldiers.
Stephen Warikozi, director of the Civil Aviation Authority, told Radio Tamazuj that he had no information about the incident yet.
The Upper Nile State Information Minister Daniel Yor Akec said that he heard about the incident but was not yet able to provide details.
But he added that the four crew members were rescued and taken to the UNMISS clinic in Malakal for medical checks.
He said it was a Russian-made aircraft. This was contradicted by a UN official, however, who said the aircraft was British-made.
Challiss McDonough, WFP’s Senior Regional Spokeswoman, confirmed to Radio Tamazuj that the aircraft that crashed had been charted by WFP.
She said it crashed shortly after takeoff and only four people were on boad, all crew members, and all of them survived.
“We believe none of the crew members was seriously injured, although they have all been taken to UNMISS hospital for medical checks,” said McDonough.
“It is too soon to know what happened, but we are working urgently with the aircraft operator, South Sudanese aviation authorities and the UNMISS peacekeepers to determine what caused the incident.”
She pointed out that the aircraft was chartered by WFP for the Logistics Cluster, which transports relief goods on behalf of the entire humanitarian community.
She further identified the aircraft as a British-manufactured Hawker Siddeley 780 Andover cargo plane, operated by West Wind Aviation of Canada.
This incident comes less than a week after a fatal air crash in South Sudan’s capital Juba.