U.N. plane crashes in Congo kills 32

KINSHASA, (Reuters) – A United Nations plane crashed while trying to land at the airport serving Congo’s capital Kinshasa today, killing 32 people, U.N. officials said.

One person aboard survived. “We can confirm only one survivor out of the 33 people on board the … plane,” U.N. spokesman Farhan Haq said in New York.

The world body earlier said Congolese and foreign nationals were on board the plane. A U.N. source in Kinshasa, who asked not to be named, said: “The plane landed heavily, broke into two and caught fire.”

There were strong winds blowing at the time. Congolese Health Ministry official Joseph Kiboko said: “We sent eight people to hospital who were still breathing, but I don’t know whether they survived. Both the pilots were killed.”

Twenty U.N. workers were listed as on board the flight. A Reuters correspondent at the airport said the Bombardier CRJ-300 jet was completely destroyed and the wreckage was lying at the end of the runway. The plane had taken off from the eastern city of Kisangani, the U.N. said.

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