Juba (dpa) – The Red Cross said that 36 people were killed Wednesday when a cargo plane crashed after take-off in South Sudan’s capital, Juba.
Presidential spokesman Ateny Wek Ateny put the number of victims at 15.
The Russian Antonov plane was en route to Paluch in northern Upper Nile State, Ateny told dpa by telephone.
It crashed near the river Nile seconds after take-off, when the two engines stopped simultaneously, he said.
The plane split into two, local journalist Peter Jok said from the site of the crash.
The fatalities included the entire crew – five Armenians and the Russian pilot, according to Ateny.
Three of the 12 South Sudanese passengers survived, including a child, he said.
Red Cross spokesman Majju Hillary, however, said 36 bodies had been recovered. A local radio journalist said he counted 40 bodies.
The plane was operated by the Tajikistan airline Asia Airways, according to the Russian news agency Interfax.
It had been chartered by entrepreneurs to take food to Upper Nile oil fields, said Ateny, who attributed the crash to a “technical failure.”
Many South Sudanese travel on cargo planes to reduce costs.