Congo pays homage to plane crash victims

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Congo paid homage Wednesday to an Australian mining tycoon and his ten colleagues killed in a plane crash, as the bodies were transported to Brazzaville airport for repatriation.

On June 19 a chartered plane travelling from Cameroon to a mine in Congo went down in Congo's thick jungle, wiping out the entire board of colourful mining tycoon Ken Talbot's Sundance Resources company, plunging it into crisis.

Congo's Minister of Mines, Mining Industries, and Geology Pierre Oba, offered his "deep sympathy and sincere condolences" to the families of the six Australians, two French, two British and one American who died in the crash.

Oba said the Sundance Resources team had been loyal partners in Congo's battle against under-development.

Congo President Denis Sassou Nguesso, members of his government and the ambassadors from Australia, the United States, France and Cameroon gathered before the coffins in Brazzaville before the bodies were taken to the airport.

From there they will be transported to Paris, and then to their countries of origin, Daniel Owassa, secretary general of the Congolese foreign ministry, told AFP.

© 2010 AFP

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