Wed, Jul 09, 2003 - Page 7 News List

Two-year-old boy sole survivor in Sudan plane crash

AP AND REUTERS , KHARTOUM, SUDAN

A Sudanese airliner crashed shortly after takeoff from an airport on the northeastern Red Sea coast yesterday, killing 115 passengers and crew, officials said. Only a two-year-old boy survived.

The Sudan Airways Boeing 737 had just left for a pre-dawn flight to the capital, Khartoum, when its captain reported technical problems and tried to turn back, airline director Ismail Zumrawy told the official Sudan News Agency.

The crash occurred in an uninhabited area at about 4am as the pilot tried to return the plane to Port Sudan airport.

The child was rushed to hospital in good condition, a spokesman for the Red Sea provincial government, Salah Ali Ahmed, said on national television. He said the crash occurred about 6km from Port Sudan airport, 660km northeast of Khartoum.

Sudan Airways officials said that among the 104 passengers and 11 crew were Malaysian and French nationals, although they gave no further details.

Ahmed said the bodies of the dead had been burned.

Sudanese State Minister for Civil Aviation Mohammed Hassan el-Bahi said a team of experts would be sent to the scene to investigate the cause, the news agency reported.

Sudan Airways employees said the 737 was the only aircraft owned by the airline. All other planes in its fleet were leased.

A year ago, a Sudan Airways cargo plane crashed into a residential area of the Central African Republic's capital Bangui, killing 23 people, mostly passengers and crew.

Another of the carrier's cargo planes crashed on approach to the airport in the Kenyan capital Nairobi in December 1990.

In 1986, 60 people died when a Sudan Airways passenger plane was hit by a guerrilla SAM-7 missile, shortly after take off from Malakal in southern Sudan, where the government has been a fighting a 20-year-old civil war with rebels.

Two years ago, a military-plane crash killed the country's deputy defense minister and 13 other high-ranking officers.

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