Plane with Australians, other foreigners 'missing': Cameroon

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Cameroon on Sunday confirmed that a flight chartered by a mining firm with 11 people on board -- six Australians, two French, two Britons and an American -- has been missing since Saturday.

Communications Minister Issa Thiroma Bakary said the CASA C-212 twin turboprop disappeared during a flight from Cameroon's capital Yaounde to Yangadou in northwest Congo-Brazzaville.

"The aircraft had on board 11 people, including nine passengers and two crew members, comprising six Australians, two French, an American and two Britons," he said.

The Australian government earlier said that the plane was carrying a group of mining executives and that it was "seriously concerned" for those on board.

Bakary said the aircraft was operated by a Congo-Brazzaville company, Aero-Service, and chartered by Cam Iron, the Cameroon subsidiary of Sundance Resources, an Australian iron ore mining firm.

"It left Yaounde international airport on Saturday June 19 at 9:13 am with an estimated arrival time of 10:20 am local time" or 0920 GMT," he said. "The last contact took place at 9:51 am"

"The journey came after the holding of an ordinary session of the board of directors of Cam Iron which took place in Yaounde on June 17," he added.

Cameroon has assigned a C-130 Hercules and smaller Piper and Dornier aircraft to search for the missing plane, and asked communities and logging firms along its flight path for any clues that might help, he said.

© 2010 AFP

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