BRAZZAVILLE, Aug 27 – A cargo plane crashed into a cemetery near the Congolese capital Brazzaville on Wednesday, killing five Ukrainian crew members and a Congolese passenger, the transport minister said.
The Antonov 12, part of the Aeroflot Business fleet, crashed into the cemetery at Nganga Lingolo, about 20 kilometres (12 miles) south of Brazzaville, as it approached the country’s main Maya Maya airport.
"There are six dead, including five Ukrainians," who were the crew, "and a Congolese, who was certainly a clandestine passenger," with no name on the manifest, Transport Minister Emile Ouosso said after visiting the crash site.
Ouosso was revising his own earlier account that five Russian crew members and two Congolese people died in the accident.
The minister said the rear of the plane had been on fire and the aircraft broke up shortly before it hit the ground.
Witnesses told AFP they had seen one of the aircraft’s wings on fire before the crash.
Russia’s consul in Brazzaville, Evegeny Sokolov, confirmed that the dead crew were "Ukrainian citizens. Russian citizens were not on board," he told the RIA Novosti news agency, giving a partial death toll of four.
The plane had taken off from the southern city of Pointe Noire with a cargo of drinks and three vehicles, according to the minister.
Ouosso announced that a search for the aircraft’s black box flight data recorder was "already under way."
He said he had given orders that "all the debris be taken to the National Agency for Civil Aviation" for the purposes of the investigation.
In 2007, the Congolese government banned Antonovs from taking passengers after noting that people were flying regularly on the cargo planes.
Officials at Maya Maya airport were unable to say what caused the crash.