As many as 17 people are feared lost after their Beechcraft 1900
turboprop crashed into a mountainside in eastern Congo Monday
The New York Times reports the aircraft (similar to type shown
below) was ferrying 15 aid workers with the United Nations and
other organizations to Bukavu, when controllers lost radar contact
with the aircraft as it was on approach to the airport.
Heavy thunderstorms were reported in the area at the time of the
crash, and continued storms hampered initial rescue efforts.
Rescuers were only able to confirm the plane had crashed Tuesday
morning, when helicopter crews overflew the accident site about
nine miles northwest of the Bukavu airport.
UN peacekeepers are now attempting to hike to the wreckage on
foot, though they harbor little hope of finding anyone still
"From the air, it definitely seems like there were no
survivors," said Christophe Illemassene, a United Nations spokesman
in Congo. "The wreckage was very much spread around, and there were
no major structures left. This would mean a very strong impact into
the mountain wall. This plane most likely slammed into the
The plane was operated by a contractor with Air Serv
International, a Virginia-based nonprofit company the flies
humanitarian workers. The victims of the accident were reportedly a
mix of Congolese and foreign aid workers, and the plane's
two-person flight crew.
The aircraft had taken off from Kisangani, according to a
statement on the Air Serv Web site.