Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 2 June 2020

Plane carrying aid crashes in southern Somalia, killing six

The East African Express Airways plane crashed close Bardale Town

A plane carrying aid supplies crashed in Somalia's southern Bay region on Monday, killing six people on board. AP Photo
A plane carrying aid supplies crashed in Somalia's southern Bay region on Monday, killing six people on board. AP Photo

A plane carrying aid supplies for use in the fight against the coronavirus crashed in Somalia on Monday, killing all six people on board, the Somali transport minister said.

The aircraft, operated by East African Express Airways, crashed close Bardale Town, Somalia, local reports said.

They said that the plane was carrying medical equipment to the town and had Kenyan and Somalian nationals on board.

Six people -- the pilot, copilot, flight engineer and a trainee pilot, as well as two people working for the airline -- were onboard, Transport Minister Mohamed Salad told Reuters. Five bodies have been recovered so far, he said.

Mr Salad said he was sending a unit to investigate, who will arrive on Tuesday, and welcomed international assistance.

The Somali transport minister declined to speculate on the cause of the crash, but a former defence minister told Reuters he had spoken to a witness at the airfield who said it appeared to have been shot down.

Abdirashid Abdullahi Mohamed, Somalia's former minister of defence, told Reuters he had spoken to a witness at the airfield who said the plane had made an initial attempt to land, had to swing around again due to wildlife on the airfield, and then appeared to be shot on one wing on its second approach.

He provided pictures that showed the plane in flames, pieces of it scattered over a small area and its tail intact, and provided a passenger list with six names. Reuters was unable to immediately verify the images or confirm the names.

Somalia's Al Qaeda-linked insurgency Al Shabab has a presence in the area where the plane came down, although the town of Bardale, in the southern Bay region, and its airfield is secured by Somali forces and Ethiopian troops.

Updated: May 5, 2020 04:34 AM

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