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Sat, May 03, 2008

Beech 1900 Down In Southern Sudan, 23 Reported Lost

Military Officials Among Those Onboard

At least 23 people were reported killed Friday in the downing of a Beechcraft 1900 turboprop in southern Sudan.

Reuters reports two high-ranking Sudanese officials were among the victims of the accident, which authorities said was caused by engine failure.

"Twenty-one passengers were killed and either two or three crew members," First Vice President Salva Kiir said. "Two engines failed and there was nothing the pilot could do."

The commuter aircraft (type shown below), operated by South Sudan Air Connection, crashed about 220 miles from its destination of the southern capital of Juba.

Among the 19 military officers onboard were Dominic Dim Deng, defense minister for southern Sudan, and Justin Yak, a presidential adviser for local government affairs. Dim was involved with the armed wing of the SPLM rebel group, which signed a 2005 treaty with the northern National Congress Party to end what had been Africa's longest civil war.

The United Nations is assisting with the investigation of the crash, including flying officials to the accident site.

FMI: www.un.org

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