UN peacekeepers and rescue workers searched yesterday for bodies amid the smouldering rubble of a jetliner that careened off a runway, killed at least 38 people and wounded more than 100 when it crashed into a bustling market area. Most of the 79 people on board survived, officials said.
The Congolese DC-9 crashed on Tuesday after failing to lift off in the eastern town of Goma, ramming through an airport fence and bursting into flames.
"I am sure people are buried" under the rubble, said Michel Bwinika, a member of parliament visiting the crash site as police, aid workers and UN soldiers looked for bodies.
Crew members and UN troops managed to evacuate most of the 79 passengers before the plane caught fire, said Dirk Cramers, a spokesman for the private Congolese company Hewa Bora Airways.
Julien Mpaluku, the governor of the district, said five more bodies had been recovered yesterday, bringing the death toll to at least 38.
"We have to take into account the fact that there are bodies still trapped under the rubble," said Transport Minister Charles Mwando Nsimba who warned that the death toll could rise. He said so far only two of the bodies were of passengers.
A total of 50 passengers that had survived the crash have already identified themselves to authorities, said Mpaluku. He also said both of the plane's black boxes have been recovered.
(Agencies via China Daily April 17, 2008)