Many killed as plane crashes into homes in DR Congo

At least 27 people have died after a passenger plane crashed into houses in the city of Goma in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, local officials say.

Local media claim the victims included nine people from the same family who were in one of the houses hit in the Mapendo area.

The small aircraft went down shortly after taking off from the city’s airport on Sunday morning. The cause of the crash is still unclear.

The plane was carrying 17 passengers and two crew members, officials say.

The Dornier-228 twin-turboprop aircraft – owned by private carrier Busy Bee – crashed about a minute after take-off, a source at Goma airport told the BBC.

A witness, Djemo Medar, told REUTERS news agency he saw the plane “spinning three times in the air and emitting a lot of smoke”.

“When the plane crashed many of us rushed there, we know the pilot, his name is Didier; he was shouting ‘Help me, help me’, but we had no way to get to him because the fire was so powerful,” he said..

North Kivu regional governor Nzanzu Kasivita offered his condolences to the families of survivors.

Air accidents are relatively frequent in DR Congo amid lax safety standards and poor maintenance, and all the country’s commercial carriers are banned from operating in the European Union.

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