Two crew members were killed when a plane chartered by the Lutheran World Federation (LWF) crashed Friday at an airstrip in Twic East County, north of the Jonglei state capital Bor, officials said.
The plane was carrying relief supplies for displaced persons and crashed as it tried to land at Mabior airfield.
Deng Garang Ajak saw the crash occur and said the plane aborted a first attempt to land at the airstrip.
"So it goes around again and then, when it was coming back, before reaching the ground, it was already staggering in the sky," he said. "We thought it was balancing the field and abruptly it goes down at high speed, then wanted to go up again, and then came down."
Garang said the plane broke into three pieces when it crashed about 20 meters short of the airstrip.
A crew member seated at the back of the plane survived and is reported to be in good condition. He told Garang the remaining two crew members, who were seated near the front of the plane, both died.
Several houses at the south end of the airstrip were damaged when the plane crashed. Two of them caught fire, Garang said. Several head of livestock in one of the houses were seriously hurt, he said.
Relief supplies for IDPs
The director of Jonglei state’s Relief and Rehabilitation Commission, Gabriel Deng Ajak, said the LWF plane was carrying relief supplies to internally displaced persons (IDPs).
"Some were food items, some were non-food items, and some were medicines. The LWF has been chartering planes and delivering some humanitarian assistance by roads. But due to the current road conditions there was no option but to charter a flight to take the humanitarian items to the IDPs in Panyagor," he said.
Roads in South Sudan become impassable during the rainy season, which ends this month.
Deng said the crash was the first involving LWF since the organization began working in Jonglei state in the 1990s.
The plane’s call sign indicates that it was chartered out of Kenya but VOA has been unable to confirm this. It was also impossible to confirm how many crew members were on the plane and what their nationalities are.