16 dead in plane crash in Republic of Congo

AP News
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Posted: Mar 21, 2011 4:34 PM
16 dead in plane crash in Republic of Congo

At least 16 people were killed when a cargo plane crashed Monday into a densely populated Republic of Congo neighborhood, according to witnesses and a cameraman who captured the plane's fall on video.

The Antonov 32 _ owned by private company Trans Air Congo (TAC) _ crashed in the Mvoumvou area of Pointe-Noire, the country's economic capital, burying several houses in debris.

Marc Ibata Ngassaki, a cameraman for state-owned television, said the pilot was able to get of the cockpit before the plane came to a rest.

He said he saw rescuers remove at least 16 bodies from inside, including three crew members.

Ambulances and medical personnel raced to the scene, and it was not immediately known how many more casualties there were or how many people died on the ground.

The Republic of Congo is often overshadowed by its much larger neighbor, Congo _ the scene of numerous crashes involving aging Soviet planes.

In October 2007, at least 50 people were killed in the Congolese capital, Kinshasa, when an Antonov 26 crashed during takeoff. In 2008 a DC-9 passenger plane overshot the runway in Goma in the country's east, killing at least 44 people.