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S.African military plane catches fire in DR Congo, no casualties

A South African military transporter carrying 67 people caught fire on landing Thursday in the eastern DR Congo city of Goma but there were no casualties, the UN said.

The C-130 Hercules made by US manufacturer Lockheed was flying from Beni, a city about 350 kilometres (220 miles) north of Goma in the Democratic Republic of Congo’s east.

“The left engine caught fire upon landing,” said the UN mission in the country, known by its French acronym MONUSCO, adding that its firefighters “intervened.”

“There were eight crew and 59 passengers. Everybody was evacuated safe and sound. Nobody suffered major injuries. The runway has reopened,” it said.

The plane served South Africa peacekeepers deployed in Beni, in the volatile North Kivu province.

The South African army said it would investigate the cause of the fire.

South African Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula “expressed her gratitude for the expertise and professionalism of the crew under duress that ensured that lives are not lost during the uncontrolled landing incident that involved men and women of the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) who are serving the Republic and the Region with zeal and pride to ensure there is peace and stability in the continent.”

On November 24, 29 people died when a small passenger plane crashed after takeoff, falling into a densely populated area of Goma.