Mozambique plane crashes in Namibia, kills 34

SERVAAS VAN DEN BOSCH
Last updated 04:12 01/12/2013

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A Mozambique Airlines plane en route to Angola crashed in a game park in northeast Namibia killing all 34 people on board, Namibian police said on Saturday (local time).

Flight TM 470 left Maputo on Friday for the Angolan capital of Luanda with 28 passengers and six crew members on board when it lost contact with air traffic controllers, the national carrier said in a statement.

Namibian Police Force Deputy Commissioner Willy Bampton said rescue workers had found burned-out wreckage of the aircraft in the dense bush of Bwabwata National Park, near the borders with Angola and Botswana.

"The plane has been completely burned to ashes and there are no survivors," Bampton said.

A Bwabwata game ranger at the scene said the plane's black boxes, including the voice recorder, had been located and taken by investigators.

"The bodies are scattered all over the place. It's a horrible sight," said the ranger, who identified himself only by his surname, Shinonge.

Namibia's aircraft investigation unit launched a helicopter search for the plane on Friday but called it off because of heavy rain, an investigator said, adding the search had resumed on Saturday.

The remote, 6100 sq km (2300 sq mile) park is home to wildlife including elephants, lions and wild dogs.

Mozambican officials said the plane, an Embraer SA 190, went missing on Friday in bad weather and poor visibility.

In a statement on its website, Mozambique Airlines listed the nationalities of the passengers on Flight TM470 as 10 Mozambicans, nine Angolans, 5 Portuguese, one French, one Brazilian and one Chinese.

The flight left the Mozambican capital of Maputo at 11.26am local time on Friday and had been due to arrive in Luanda at 2pm.

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- Reuters

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