At least 24 people have been killed, including some on the ground, when a small plane crashed into a densely populated neighbourhood in the city of Goma in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo this morning.
The aircraft, which was operated by local company Busy Bee, crashed shortly after take-off en route to the city of Beni, about 250km to the north, officials said.
The company said the 19-seater Dornier 228-200 had 16 passengers and two crew members on board.
There was no word yet on what might have caused the accident.
Jean-Paul Lumbulumbu, the vice president of North Kivu province’s parliament, said 24 bodies had been recovered from the rubble, including those of several people hit by falling debris.
A rescue worker, who asked not to be named, said 26 bodies had been recovered.
At the crash site in Goma’s Mapendo neighbourhood, residents threw water from buckets and cooking pots onto the smouldering wreckage.
The rear section of the plane rested sideways, propped up by a wall, videos posted on social media showed.
One witness at the scene said two people – one who was on board the plane and a child in a building hit by the wreckage – were rescued before the plane exploded into flames after crashing.
Police arrested one man for stealing cash from the rubble and fired warning shots to disperse people who had started looting, he said.
Air accidents are relatively frequent in Congo because of lax safety standards and poor maintenance.
All Congolese commercial carriers, including Busy Bee, are banned from operating in the European Union.
Smoke rises from the wreckage of a small plane which crashed on takeoff into a densely populated area of Goma in the Democratic Republic of Congo pic.twitter.com/31BXU7qrG0
— AFP news agency (@AFP) November 24, 2019