Three South Africans among 32 killed in UN plane crash

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Three South Africans were among 32 people killed when a UN plane crashed in the Democratic Republic of Congo capital, the foreign minister said Tuesday.

"I can confirm that there were three South Africans aboard. We are saddened by what happened to these people on their noble mission," said Maite Nkoana-Mashabane of Monday's crash.

The Fokker 100 plane, run by the UN mission in DR Congo, smashed to pieces when it hit the ground as the pilot tried to land in torrential rain in Kinshasa, witnesses said.

It was carrying 29 passengers -- mainly UN officials and peacekeepers -- and four crew on a regular flight from the northeastern city of Kisangani to Kinshasa's N'Djili airport, according to the United Nations.

One person survived the crash, which is described as one of the worst disasters ever involving UN transport.

UN peacekeeping chief Alain Le Roy told reporters that "probably due to the wind, the aircraft missed the runway" and slammed into the ground.

© 2011 AFP

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