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32 dead in UN plane crash in DR Congo

UNITED NATIONS, Apr 5- Thirty-two people died when a UN plane crashed as it tried to land in a storm in the Democratic Republic of Congo capital, a UN spokesman said.

One person on the plane survived one of the worst disasters ever involving UN transport.

"We can now confirm that there was only one survivor from the 33 people on the MONUSCO plane which crashed today," UN deputy spokesman Farhan Haq said.

The Fokker 100 plane, run by the UN mission in DR Congo, MONUSCO, smashed to pieces when it hit the ground as the pilot tried to land in torrential rain, witnesses said.

UN peacekeeping chief Alain Le Roy told reporters that "probably due to the wind, the aircraft missed the runway" and crashed into the ground. He said an investigation had started.

The plane was carrying 29 passengers — mainly UN officials and peacekeepers — and four crew on a regular UN flight from the northeastern city of Kisangani to Kinshasa\’s N\’Djili airport, according to the UN.

Plane accidents are common in DR Congo, but this is the first involving UN transport.

The United Nations has a fleet of more than a dozen planes in the country to transport MONUSCO personnel, journalists and staff of international and local non-governmental organizations.

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The UN Security Council expressed its "profound sorrow" over the disaster, ambassador Nestor Osorio of Colombia, the council president for April, said after a meeting of the 15-nation body.


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