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Plane crash-lands in S.Sudan, at least 37 injured

The manager of South Supreme Airlines said the plane that crashed-landed in Wau had taken off from Juba
Albert GONZALEZ FARRAN (AFP/File)
It was unclear however if the rest of the those on board were alive or dead

A passenger jet carrying 45 people crash-landed in South Sudan's northwestern city of Wau on Monday, leaving at least 37 people injured, government and airport officials said.

There were 40 passengers and five crew members on board the South Supreme Airlines plane that had taken off from the capital Juba, said the airline's manager Gabriel Ngang.

State Information Minister Bona Gaudensio said an ambulance had brought the passengers from the airport to the hospital, and most of them were released shortly after.

"We had 37 passengers taken to the hospital and so after they were given first aid we have released 31 of them and we will release the rest tomorrow," Gaudensio told AFP. 

He could not account for the remaining eight people who had been on board, but claimed there were no deaths in the accident.

.@UN peacekeepers in #SouthSudan help rescue effort following Wau plane crash pic.twitter.com/LHvjtWC4dY

— UNMISS (@unmissmedia) March 20, 2017

"Right now we have the ambulance which has just come out from the airport and we have received 14 patients being rushed to hospital in stable condition," said State Information Minister Bona Gaudensio.

Paul Charles, an engineer at Wau airport and local radio journalist Lawrence Yunisen both told AFP that some passengers -- not counted among the injured -- had managed to flee the burning plane unscathed.

Charles said the weather in the region had not been good when the plane came into land.

"Visibility was not good up to now and (the plane) was landing from the east to west, then it just crashed (off) the runway. The pilot I think was not seeing the runway well," he said.

"Some of the people got out by themselves, some of them were pulled. Only the back part of the plane remains but the rest was burned," he added.

Video images obtained by AFP showed firefighters battling to put out the blaze as thick black smoke billowed from the aircraft. The plane was completely burned out except for the tail, which clearly displayed the insignia of local carrier South Supreme Airlines.

In November 2015, 36 people were killed when a Soviet-era Antonov plane crashed just after take-off from Juba. Two survivors were pulled out of the twisted metal hulk but one later died.

The plane crash is the latest tragedy to befall South Sudan, which has been gripped by civil war since 2013. The country is also in the midst of a "man-made" famine due to the conflict.

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