, MONROVIA, Feb 11 – A plane carrying a military delegation from Guinea crashed Monday in Liberia, killing the army chief of staff and at least nine other people, said officials and a source close to the Guinean presidency.
“There were 10 people on board this flight and none of them survived,” said Liberian Information Minister Lewis Brown after the crash in the town of Charlesville, about eight kilometres (five miles) from Liberia’s only international airport.
But a source close to Guinea’s presidency said 18 people had died, including the army chief of staff.
“There were 18 people on board including the chief of staff of the Guinean army, General Souleymane Kelefa Diallo, and they all died,” said the source.
Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf declared Tuesday a day of mourning for the victims.
“May all of us pray for the souls of the Guineans who died in the crash,” she said on national television.
The plane was carrying the delegation to attend an annual armed forces day in Liberia, which holds ceremonies each year to recognise its military and often invites delegations from neighbouring countries, including Guinea.
Emergency workers and police were dispatched to the crash site from the airport, Roberts International, which is located about 65 kilometres southeast of Monrovia.
Much of the area where the plane went down is covered in deep forest.
Liberian officials said they did not yet have a list of those on board the plane and were unsure how many were crew.
They were due to brief the press at the airport later in the day.