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Casualty Count In Sudan Airways Crash Lowered

But Cause Remains A Mystery

Investigators in the Sudan are still trying to reconcile varying witness accounts of the Tuesday night downing of a Sudan Airways plane. The Press Association cites the Sudan Civil Aviation Authority in reporting that 29 passengers and crewmembers died, but 171 escaped the burning plane.

Two differing stories on what happened to the Airbus were related by official sources.

As ANN reported, Police Chief Mohammad Najib told officials the high winds around Khartoum Airport at the time, "caused the plane to crash land, split into two and catch fire."

But airport director Youssef Ibrahim told Sudanese television the airliner had landed safely, and the pilots were talking to the control tower to get further instructions when the accident occurred."One of the engines exploded and the plane caught fire."

One survivor described a rough landing, followed by a sharp impact several minutes later.

Investigators have determined the plane skidded off the runway and hit navigation poles marking the end of the runway, sparking a fire on the right side of the aircraft. Passengers say an engine burst into flames, which engulfed the cabin after an evacuation had started.

In a freak post-crash complication, two civil defense workers were injured when a fuel tank was left undrained and exploded in the summer sun.

FMI: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Khartoum_International_Airport, www.sudanairways.com

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