July 17, 2005

Equatorial Guinea says all 55 on crashed plane died

MALABO (Reuters) - All 55 passengers and crew were killed
when an Antonov plane crashed shortly after takeoff from
Equatorial Guinea's capital Malabo, the government said on

Information Minister and government spokesman Alfonso Nsue
Mokuy said he was in touch with a team at the site of
Saturday's crash near Baney, a town some 19 km (12 miles) from

"No one survived -- the plane was destroyed," Nsue Mokuy
said. Until teams reached the site on Sunday, the government
had been unable to say whether anyone might have survived the

Nsue Mokuy dismissed local media reports that the
Russian-made Antonov plane had been carrying up to 80 people
when it crashed.

The plane, owned by local company Equatair, was heading
from Malabo, on the Atlantic island of Bioko, to Bata, on the
mainland section of the central African country.

The flight route to Bata is virtually all over the ocean,
although the plane crashed on land. It disappeared off the
radar screen shortly after taking off at 1000 GMT on Saturday,
officials said.

Six of the 55 people on board were crew, officials said on

Africa's airspace is notoriously dangerous compared to
other parts of the world, with many airline companies suffering
from chronic under-investment.

Despite accounting for just 3 percent of global airline
traffic, last year the continent saw 27 percent of the world's
fatal airliner accidents, according to the Dutch-based Aviation
Safety Network.