New York, NY (BBN)– Only one person out of 33 passengers and crew members has survived a United Nations plane crash on Monday at the main airport in the capital of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).
The plane, which had been travelling from the north-eastern city of Kisangani, was attempting to land in heavy rain at N’Djili airport in Kinshasa when it crashed about 1.30 p.m. local time after missing the runway, a UN press statement said.
Alain Le Roy, the Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, told journalists that initial indications were that bad weather was a key factor in the accident.
The UN peacekeeping mission in the DRC (MONUSCO) reported that the plane was carrying 29 passengers and four crew members. All but five of the passengers worked for the UN, with the others working for international organizations or non-governmental organizations (NGOs). Most of the UN staff on board worked for MONUSCO but some were serving with UN agencies.
Ambassador Rafael Osorio of Colombia, which holds the rotating presidency of the Security Council this month, said the Council’s 15 members expressed their “profound sorrow.” He offered his deepest condolences to the families of the victims.
MONUSCO has set up a task force in the wake of the crash to lead the investigation and determine what follow-up actions are needed. Counsellors are being provided for affected staff and a hotline is also being established for the families and friends of the crash victims.
The peacekeeping mission said the names of the victims will be released after their bodies have been positively identified and the next of kin informed, according to the statement.
BBN/SSR/AD-05Apr11-3:04 pm (BST)