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No Sign of Survivors at Cameroon Plane Crash Scene


Reports from Cameroon, where a Kenya Airways plane crashed shortly after takeoff, say searchers have found wreckage but no sign of survivors.

The six-month-old Boeing 737 jet went down with 114 people aboard early Saturday, during a torrential rainstorm. The airport at Douala, Cameroon's largest city, briefly heard a distress signal, but rescuers were unable to locate the crash site for more than 40 hours.

The plane went down in a mangrove swamp 20 kilometers from the airport, along its flight path, and officials say a dense canopy of foliage concealed it from view.

Rescue workers had to leave their vehicles and walk through the swamp to reach the plane. One unconfirmed account (from Associated Press) says searchers reported they found only small fragments of wreckage at the crash scene.

Many of the 114 people aboard the plane were Kenyans, but the passenger list included people from more than 20 countries.

In addition to African nations, those aboard the jet were from China, India and Europe. At least one American was on the flight.

There has been no word on what may have caused the crash, or whether the jet's data and voice flight recorders are intact.

Cameroonian authorities earlier had reported the jet was believed to have come down in a thickly forested region more than 100 kilometers from the actual crash site. According to Kenya Airways' chief, the tip that eventually led searchers to the wreck came from local fishermen who said they heard a loud bang and that waves rolled through the swampy water before dawn on Saturday.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.

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