A Passenger Plane Crash-Landed and Burned in South Sudan but All 49 People On-board Survived

WAU, SOUTH SUDAN - MARCH 20: (----EDITORIAL USE ONLY MANDATORY CREDIT - "UNITED NATIONS MISSION IN SOUTH SUDAN / HANDOUT" - NO MARKETING NO ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS - DISTRIBUTED AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS----) Firefighters and soldiers belonging to United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) try to extinguish the fire at the plane, which took off from Juba with 44 passengers, after it crashed while landing on Wau Airport in Wau, South Sudan on March 20, 2017.

A passenger plane crash-landed and burned in Wau, northwestern South Sudan on Monday, but all 49 passengers and crew survived, an airport official said.

The plane was landing but then crashed, said Wau’s Acting Airport Manager Stephen Youngule.

“The plane touched down and then jumped up again. The pilot couldn’t control it,” said Youngule, who is also Deputy Director of Air Traffic Services. “I saw it until the very last moment before the fire engulfed the aircraft.”

When the plane crashed, its door flew open, which allowed the pilot and rescue crews to get everybody out, he said. Those with injuries were taken to Wau’s hospital for treatment, said Youngule.

The plane, an Antonov 26, carried 44 passengers and had five crew members, said Youngule.

On social media, images appeared of the plane with smoke billowing from the wrecked fuselage.

U.N. peacekeepers worked with local emergency workers to evacuate passengers from the plane, according to David Shearer, head of the U.N. mission in South Sudan. Peacekeepers from Bangladesh, Nepal and China helped in the emergency work, he said.

The plane was from South Supreme Airlines, a South Sudanese carrier. It was making a trip from Juba to Wau, in northwestern South Sudan when it crashed. Most of the passengers were South Sudanese with two foreigners, one each from China and Eritrea.

Since 2013, South Sudan has been embroiled in a civil war that has killed at least 50,000 people. In late February, a famine was declared in the country and more than 1 million people are at risk of starvation.

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