Bodies to be sent to DRC after plane crash

Kinshasa - The bodies of the 13 victims of last week's plane crash in Congo will be repatriated to Kinshasa, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) transport minister said on Monday.

"We are working with our foreign ministry to ensure the bodies of our fellow citizens are returned home to their families as quickly as possible," DRC Transport Minister Eva Mwakasa told a press conference in the capital Kinshasa.

"We will also get the black box flight recorders recovered on Saturday, which will help us determine the cause of the accident," Mwakasa explained.

"At this stage, though, we're still putting it down to poor weather conditions," he said.

Air traffic authorities in Kinshasa lost contact with the Antonov AN-26 of the DRC-based Air Kasai airline late Friday as it was flying through a violent storm over the DRC's northern Equateur province.

The plane was flying from Boende in Equateur to Kinshasa, a distance of about 750km, according to the DRC aviation regulatory authority, RVA.

Three members of the Russian crew were among those killed when the aircraft crashed on its descent to Kinshasa airport near Brazzaville.

It was the fourth accident involving a DRC-registered aircraft since the beginning of the month, prompting authorities to crack down on safety violations and slap flight bans on nearly two-thirds of the country's private aviation companies.

Of DRC's 51 private airlines, 33 have been grounded. However, 18 have had their operating licenses renewed after agreeing to fully comply with the civil aviation authority's code within three months. - Sapa-AFP

sign up