At least 32 killed as plane hits houses in Congo

BRAZZAVILLE Sat Dec 1, 2012 6:28pm IST

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BRAZZAVILLE (Reuters) - A cargo plane crashed into houses near Brazzaville Maya-Maya airport while attempting to land in a thunderstorm on Friday, killing at least 32 people, a Congolese Red Cross official said on Saturday.

"We have already pulled 32 bodies from the crash site, but there could be more victims," the official said, asking not to be named. The official said the dead included six crew members.

The Soviet-made Ilyushin-76 cargo plane, operated by local carrier Trans Air Congo was travelling from Pointe-Noire, the commercial capital of the Central African state. It crashed into more than a dozen houses near the airport.

Congo Republic, like its neighbour the Democratic Republic of Congo and many countries in the region, has one of the world's poorest aviation safety records due to poor maintenance and the use of old planes banned from other skies.

In March 2011, another Soviet-made Antonov cargo plane, operated by the same company, crashed into houses in Pointe-Noire while attempting to land, killing 23.

(Reporting by Christian Tsoumou; Writing by Bate Felix; Editing by Sophie Hares and Janet Lawrence)

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