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Another Air Crash In Angola

Thu Nov 16, 2000 8:34 am

Another Russian airplane has crashed in Angola, killing 40 people. Here is the news story:

40 Killed in Angola Plane Crash

Updated 4:33 PM ET November 15, 2000

By CASIMIRO SIONA, Associated Press Writer

LUANDA, Angola (AP) - At least 40 people were killed Wednesday when an Antonov 24 airplane
slammed into a field and exploded into a fireball shortly after takeoff - the second Antonov to crash in this
southwest African country in the past two weeks.

There were no survivors from the crash of the Soviet-built plane, which went down about two miles from
Luanda international airport. It was on a domestic flight to Namibe, about 420 miles south of the capital,
Luanda, where it was to pick up a Portuguese youth soccer team touring the country.

There were conflicting reports about who was aboard, though officials said there were no survivors.

National Civil Aviation director Branco Ferreira said the flight crew was four Russians, but other officials
later said it was four Ukrainians and an Angolan.

The Angolan company Asa Pesada, which chartered the plane, said there were 37 passengers, but civil
aviation officials said the pilot had told the control tower there were 44.

By Wednesday evening, 34 bodies had been recovered, including those of six children.

An Antonov 26 crashed on Oct. 31 in northeastern Angola, killing 48 people. After that crash, the
government ordered all Antonov aircraft grounded. It was not clear whether the plane in Wednesday's
crash was licensed to fly.

Over the past four years, 10 other Antonov planes chartered for military and civilian use have crashed in
Angola, killing at least 150 people.

UNITA rebels have targeted civilian planes they suspect of ferrying supplies to government troops. At least
four planes were shot down by the rebels in the past four years.

Private companies often hire Antonov planes to transport passengers and cargo across Angola since land
mines and skirmishes between the army and UNITA make road travel treacherous.

Passenger figures are also sometimes difficult to determine because seats are often given at random on the
tarmac, depending on who can pay in cash.

Transport Minister Luis Brandao said the government was investigating, and civil aviation officials and the
Angolan air force, which also uses the airport, convened an emergency meeting to examine safety

Many of the pilots flying Antonov planes in Angola are Russian or Ukrainian. In September, the
government announced that some 400 Russian pilots working in Angola would have to pass new flying

The Angolan Association of Pilots welcomed the decision, saying Russian pilots often are accused of
flying while drunk and failing to maintain their aircraft.

Aaron G.