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Sunday, 27 January, 2002, 18:16 GMT
Three confirmed dead in Angola crash
Map of Angola
By the BBC's Justin Pearce in Luanda

An aircraft chartered by the Angolan Government has crashed in the east of the country.

Most of the 34 passengers managed to escape the wreckage alive, however three have now been confirmed dead.

Initial reports said that up to 30 people had died.

The accident has been blamed on technical failure, however the incident took place in an area which has seen heavy fighting in recent months, as the Angolan army attempts to destroy rebel bases.

Plane 'caught alight'

The aircraft crashed as it was making its descent into Luena airport in Angola's eastern province of Moxico.

Unita rebels
Unita rebels in the area have anti-aircraft weapons

The plane, a Russian Antonov 12, fell to the ground about eight kilometres from Luena, catching fire as it landed.

At least 31 people were admitted to the military hospital in Luena according to state radio.

Of the three who died is known to have been a crew member.

Official reports have blamed mechanical failure for the accident.

Military activity

The Antonov planes that operate charter flights in Angola have a very poor safety record.

However the crash took place in an area of heavy military activity and the Unita rebels who operate in the area are known to have portable anti-aircraft weapons.

The Moxico province, isolated from the rest of the country by the fighting, is also heavily reliant on air transport.

See also:

25 Jan 02 | Country profiles
Country profile: Angola
23 Nov 01 | Africa
Zambian troops kill 10 Angolans
13 Nov 01 | Africa
Angolan envoy summoned in Lusaka
12 Nov 01 | Africa
Angolan troops abduct Zambians
11 Nov 01 | Africa
Angolan troops abduct villagers
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