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Lucky escape for South Sudan plane crash survivors

AFP logoAFP 21/3/2017

Plane crash at Wau Airport, South Sudan - 20 Mar 2017 Plane on fire after crashing. © Rex Images Plane crash at Wau Airport, South Sudan - 20 Mar 2017 Plane on fire after crashing. All passengers and crew survived a plane crash in South Sudan overnight in which the jet hit a fire truck on the runway before bursting into flames.

"There is no one who died," Bona Gaudensio, information minister in the northwestern state of Wau where the accident happened, said today.

He said 37 people had been treated for injuries in hospital but, miraculously, no one was killed, despite a fireball consuming the plane soon after it crash landed.

Wau is a regional capital with a busy airport used by the United Nations and aid agencies as well as private and commercial planes.

"The plane hit a fire brigade truck, that is how it caught fire," said Gaudensio.

He suggested both "a technical problem" and "some negligence" might be to blame and added that an investigation would be carried out.

Bad weather has also been blamed for the accident.

Pascal Ladu of the South Sudan Red Cross said that after plane operated by local carrier South Supreme Airlines hit the truck it burst into flames and "passengers quickly started running out".

The crash threw a thick plume of black smoke into the sky as a blaze consumed the plane while firefighters and UN peacekeepers worked to contain the fire.

In the end, all that remained of the plane was its tail, clearly marked with the South Supreme Airlines insignia.

The aircraft had taken off from the capital Juba for Wau on Monday afternoon, according to airline manager Gabriel Ngang.

There were conflicting accounts of the number of people aboard the plane, with Ngang giving a figure of 45 and Gaudensio quoting 49.

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