Sudan minister among 32 dead in plane crash
KHARTOUM A CABINET minister was among 32 politicians, generals and others killed on Sunday when a plane crashed on its way to Sudan’s war-torn South Kordofan state for the start of Muslim holidays, state media and an aviation official said.
“All people on board were killed” as the aircraft flew in for a ceremony marking Eid, at the end of the Ramadan fasting month, said Abdelhafiz Abdelrahim, spokesman for the Sudan Aviation Authority.
The most senior official among the dead was Khartoum’s Guidance and Endowments Minister Ghazi al Saddiq, tasked with religious affairs, the official SUNA news agency said.
It reported that 26 passengers and six crew were on board.
Speaking on official Radio Omdurman, Culture and Information Minister Ahmed Bilal Osman said the plane “crashed into a hill” because of bad weather, killing the entire delegation.
Abdelrahim said the Antonov plane was landing at Talodi town at about 8:00 am (0500 GMT) when something suddenly went wrong.
“Before landing, communication with the pilot was normal and the runway clear. Then an explosion was heard and the plane was destroyed,” he said.
Accidents are common among Sudan’s ageing fleet of aircraft, and Europe bans all Sudanese airlines for safety reasons.
At least 30 people died when a Sudan Airways jet burst into flames on landing in Khartoum in 2008.
Several small airline companies in Sudan use pilots from the former Soviet Union. It was not immediately clear which firm operated Sunday’s ill-fated plane.
SUNA did not give the names or nationalities of the six crew who died. The other victims included two top officials — Khartoum’s state minister for youth and sport, and the state minister of tourism, as well as the education minister for the Khartoum area, SUNA said.
Ten victims, including three generals, were from the security forces, it added.