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Last Updated: Sunday, 17 July, 2005, 21:00 GMT 22:00 UK
Sixty die in E Guinea plane crash
Equatorial Guinea's government has said 60 people died when an aircraft crashed soon after take-off on Saturday.

It was originally reported that about 55 people had been on the Equatair flight, which came down near the island capital of Malabo.

Information Minister Alfonso Nsue Mokuy told Reuters a rescue team had found no-one alive in the wreckage.

The Soviet-designed Antonov plane was flying from Malabo on the island of Bioko to the mainland city of Bata.

Rescue teams found the plane completely destroyed, with charred bodies scattered over the crash site.

Dozens of people have gathered at hospitals to receive news of their missing relatives.

'Flames'

Mr Nsue Mokuy dismissed local media reports that the plane had been carrying up to 80 people when it crashed.

The plane took off at about 1000 (0900 GMT) on Saturday, and disappeared shortly after it became airborne.

The AFP news agency reported that a witness working on an offshore oil platform saw flames coming from the side of the plane shortly after take-off.

The plane tilted and fell, the anonymous witness said.

It then skidded over trees for a distance of about one kilometre (half a mile) before it crashed, a government statement said.

As the capital Malabo is situated on an island, much travel to the mainland is by regular air service.


SEE ALSO:
Country profile: Equatorial Guinea
05 May 05 |  Country profiles
Timeline: Equatorial Guinea
16 Jul 05 |  Country profiles


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