Sudan Plane Crash Kills Government Minister, Scores of Senior Officials
The accident happened on Sunday morning when the aircraft crashed into a mountain near the town of Talodi in South Kordofan state, about 33 miles (53 kilometers) from the border with South Sudan. The plane was carrying a total of 32 people to an Islamic festival in Talodi, where it was scheduled to land.
The Sudanese Civil Aviation Authority said the Antonov An-26 had taken off from Khartoum International Airport, located in the capital Khartoum, at around 6:02 am local time. The agency said the aircraft belonged to Alfa Airlines, a new airline which has its headquarters in the Egyptian capital of Cairo.
The aircraft exploded when it flew into a mountain while preparing to land at a nearby airport in Talodi, where the government delegation was to celebrate the Eid al-Fitr festival to mark the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. “Before the plane was to land there was an explosion which was heard throughout the town,” a spokesperson said, adding that the bodies of all 32 people on board the aircraft were recovered.
A statement from the office of Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir identified the victims as six crew members and 26 passengers. The most senior victim was Guidance and Endowments Minister Ghazi al-Sadiq. Other victims were identified as state ministers, senior officials from the defense forces, and journalists from the country’s state-run media.
Authorities said the crash was caused by bad weather, but other details were not immediately available.
Last month, seven Sudanese service members were killed when a military helicopter crashed in Sudan’s troubled region of Darfur. The Russian-made Mi-17 helicopter went down just southwest of El Fasher, the capital of North Darfur, but there were conflicting reports whether it was caused by a technical fault or if it was shot down by the Sudan Liberation Movement/Army (SLA).
And in December 2011, all six people were killed when a military plane crashed about three minutes after taking off from an airport in Al-Ubayyid, the capital of North Kordofan state in southern Sudan. It followed a helicopter crash in April 2011, killing five Sudanese soldiers. Both crashes were blamed on technical failures.