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UN Workers on Scene of Plane Crash at Goma

  • Ricci Shryock

United Nations workers joined fire crews combing through the smoldering wreckage of a passenger plane that failed to take off and crashed into a crowded market district of Goma in the Democratic Republic of Congo Tuesday. An airline official said the crash killed many of the people in the market. For VOA, Ricci Shryock reports from our West and Central Africa bureau in Dakar.

As rescue workers searched for bodies amid the wreckage of the Hewa Bora Airways plane, the death toll was still unknown. The airliner was scheduled to fly from Goma to the Congolese capital Kinshasa Tuesday morning. Spokesman for the airline Dirk Cramers said a majority of the passengers survived after the pilot lost control during take-off and smashed into a wall in the market.

Journalist Naomi Schwarz was in Goma and spoke to area aid workers the morning after the crash.

"I spoke to someone at the Red Cross, and they say they're still pulling burned bodies, burned corpses out of the wreckage and the death toll, they expect it to rise," she said.

Hours after the crash, Schwarz visited a hospital in Goma where victims were being treated.

"The hospital was chaotic. It was just a couple hours after the crash. One nurse told me the victims were pretty much everywhere," she said. "There was a list posted outside of survivors, and there were a bunch of names on it, and there were people crowded around to see whose names were on there."

Just last week, the European Union added Hewa Bora Airways to a list of airlines banned from flying into the 27-nation bloc due to safety concerns.

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