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Black box found after UN plane tragedy in Congo

Investigators recovered the black box flight recorder on Wednesday of a UN-chartered plane which crashed as it tried to land near the Congolese capital Kinshasa, leaving 32 people dead.

A spokesman for the UN mission in the Democatic Republic of Congo, MONUSCO, told reporters that the recorder was now being studied by local investigators who are trying to discover how the accident on Monday lunchtime occurred.

Only one person survived the tragedy, one of the worst disasters ever involving UN transport, which saw a Bombardier CRJ-100 plane smash to pieces when it hit the ground as the pilot tried to land in torrential rain.

“The work took time and finished very late in the night,” said MONUSCO spokesman Madnodje Mounoubai. “All the bodies have been identified,” Mounoubai added, without giving the nationality of the victims.

The plane was carrying 29 passengers — mainly UN officials and peacekeepers and a four person crew on a regular UN flight from the northeastern city of Kisangani to Kinshasa’s N’Djili airport.

Two Belgians, three South Africans and at least one Ivorian are known to be among the victims, along with four staff from the Georgian company Airzena Georgian Airways, from which the UN had chartered the plane.

A Congolese journalist, the only survivor among the 33 people who were on the plane, was still being treated on Wednesday in a hospital close to the airport.

Plane accidents are common in DR Congo, but Monday’s was the first involving UN transport since the start of the UN mission in 1999. -AFP