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DRC MP killed in plane crash


Kinshasa - A domestic passenger plane crashed in a swamp in south-east Democratic Republic of Congo on Thursday, killing at least one person, and officials said nine more passengers were trapped in the wreckage.

At least 12 people survived, but all were injured. The passenger confirmed dead was a DRC member of parliament.

The Czech-made Let Kunovice L-410 twin-engine propeller aircraft operated by Karibu Airways came down shortly after taking off from Kamina, in Congo's mining province of Katanga, while on a flight to the provincial capital of Lubumbashi.

"The plane is upside down in a marsh with the wheels and wings above the surface," Katanga's provincial Interior Minister Dikanga Kazadi told Reuters.

"There are nine people still trapped inside. We do not know their condition."

The 12 injured survivors were taken to a local hospital. They included two DRC doctors working for the World Health Organisation and the ministry of health, UN officials said.

The dead passenger was identified as Mbuyu Mibanga, a deputy of DRC's National Assembly.

The nationalities of the other passengers and crew were not immediately known.

The accident was the latest in a series of air crashes in the past few years in the vast, former Belgian colony, which has few paved roads and is considered one of the most dangerous nations in the world for civilian air travel.

Aging aircraft mostly made in the former Soviet bloc are widely used to carry passengers and cargo between provinces.

Last year, the European Union banned all but one of the 51 carriers operating in the DRC from flying in Europe.

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) called the air safety records of several African countries, including Congo, an "embarrassment" for the industry.

After the criticism, the DRC government has tried to improve air safety by grounding some airlines and regulating the amount of cargo that can be carried.


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