36 Killed in Plane Crash in South Sudan

By: Jada H.

At least 36 people were killed in an overloaded cargo plane that crashed in Juba, South Sudan on November 4th. There were only 2 that survived the crash, but one of them died later in hospital. The lone survivor- an infant pulled out from the wreckage. Originally headed to the Paloich oil fields in the Upper Nile state, the aircraft crashed approximately 1.6 kilometres from the Juba international airport. The plane was originally registered in Tajikistan, belonging to the airline company Allied Services Limited.

According to Tigran Mkrtchian, a spokesman for the Armenian Foreign Ministry, six crew members – five Armenians and a Russian – were found dead at the scene. “We need heavy machinery to lift up to find out if there are other dead bodies under the wreckage of the plane.” Maju Hilary of the South Sudan Red Cross explains. South Sudan’s minister for transportation, Kuong Danhier Gatluak, claims that officials are looking for the black box of the plane as “there’s no survivor that could tell us” what had caused the crash in the first place.

There was some different information on who the dead were. The presidential spokesman, Ateny, had said 10 people on the ground had died from the crash, but witnesses and workers had claimed that no one was affected. A reporter originally from the Associated Press stated that there were at least two dozen people found dead at the scene.

Kenyi Galla, assistant operations manager for Combined Air Services, says it’s normal for security forces to put family members on cargo planes. “Normally (this flight) used to carry 12 people, but the problem is they added more people,” he said. “This plane is just for cargo, not for passengers. It was just chartered for goods.”

The plane was originally built in 1971, and had long since surpassed the safety requirements in order to fly the plane. “It was is no state to fly because it failed to undergo timely technical servicing… that should have included work on extending its resources and exploitation timeframe”, AFP news agency reported. The plane had belonged to the Tajik company Asia Airways, but was being operated by Allied Services Limited at the time of the crash.

The death toll could rise as the debris is being cleared. We won’t know the official cause of the crash until investigators recover the black box and listen to the footage. It was a tragic event for those who were affected, and many lives were unfortunately lost.

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