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Last Updated: Tuesday, 8 July, 2003, 19:55 GMT 20:55 UK
Sudan plane crash kills 115
The sole survivor - a two-year-old boy (Pictures from Sudan television)
Sudan has suffered few passenger plane accidents
A passenger plane has crashed in Sudan shortly after take-off, killing 115 people on board.

Only one passenger, a small child, survived the crash.

The dead include 105 passengers and 10 crew members.

The Sudan Airways Boeing 737 was on an internal flight from Port Sudan on the Red Sea to the capital, Khartoum, about 660 kilometres (410 miles) away when the pilot reported technical problems, state radio said.

It crashed at about 0400 (0100 GMT) in a desolate area about three miles (five km) from Port Sudan airport.

The toddler, who lost his right leg in the crash, has been named as Mohammed al-Fatih by a spokesman for the airline.

He was flown to the capital Khartoum for treatment.

Sudan's Minister of State for Aviation, Mohammed Hassan al-Bahi, told state radio problems had started minutes after the plane had taken off.

"The pilot contacted [airport officials] to say there were difficulties and that he would return to the airport in Port Sudan,"

Mass grave

"The plane crashed while trying to land at the airport."

A fire in the wreckage left many victims' bodies severely burned, and Sudanese television reported that the victims were buried in a mass grave at the scene.

Residents in Port Sudan, fearing for relatives, rushed to the airport and gathered in nearby areas waiting for news.

In Khartoum people checked frantically to see if family or friends were on board the flight, Reuters news agency reported.

A passenger list showed that at least 14 of the passengers were children, including four babies, the French news agency AFP reported.

Boeing 737
Boeing 737
Bestselling commercial jetliner of all time
Used by 214 airline operators in 100 countries
737 fleet has made more than 90 million global flights

At least seven foreign nationals: three Indians, one Briton, a Chinese, an Ethiopian, and a United Arab Emirates national were also killed in the crash, it said.

One report also said that the head of Sudan's air forces had been killed in the crash.

Government spokesman Salah Ali Ahmed told Sudanese national television that Mohammed al-Fatih was in a hospital and in good condition.

A team consisting of civil aviation authority, Sudan Airways and security officials is to investigate the crash.

Sudan has suffered few passenger plane accidents in recent years. However there have been several crashes involving military aircraft during the country's 20-year long civil war.

The BBC's Raphael Jesurum
"The Sudanese foreign minister blamed US sanctions"

Dangers of flying in Africa
09 May 03  |  Africa
Country profile: Sudan
06 Jun 03  |  Country profiles
Timeline: African air disasters
31 Jan 00  |  Africa

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