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Sat, May 08, 2004

Sudan Accident Kills 12 Children, Pilot, Chaperone

Witnesses point to possible engine trouble soon after takeoff

The South African Broadcasting Corporation has reported that an LET-410 Czech-built aircraft has crashed in southern Sudan, killing sixteen of twelve children who were passengers on the domestic charter flight, as well as the captain, a native of New Zealand, and the chaperone who was escorting the children.

Along with four of the children, the co-pilot survived the accident.

The aircraft crashed shortly after taking off on a trip between two towns in the Upper Nile province. All the survivors were taken to a hospital for treatment.

The LET-410 was owned by a local charter company and was operated regularly in Sudan, according to other aid workers interviewed at the crash site.

The crash took place within an area involved in a war that began in 1983 when rebels from the predominantly animist and Christian south decided to take up arms against the mainly Muslim and Arab north.

The children were scheduled to attend special educational presentations at their destination, as part of programs designed to provide relief for the more than one million adults and children displaced by the war.



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