Please note that the crashed plane was a "South Sudan Air Connection" service plane. I didn’t belong to "Delta Connection" as it was initially reported by Sudan Tribune in this article.
By Isaac Vuni
May 2, 2008 (JUBA) — Sudanese First Vice President and President of southern Sudan government, Salav Kiir Mayadrit confirmed the death of two high-ranking official in a plane crash and declared three-day national mourning in Southern Sudan.
- A Beech - 1900
The government of Southern Sudan Minister for Sudan People Liberation Army (SPLA) Affairs, Lt. General Dominic Dim died Friday in a plane crash, 25 miles from Wau town en route to Rumbek.
On board was Dr Justin Yac Arop, GoSS presidential Adviser for Decentralization who also perished along with other 21 passengers including the two crewmembers.
Announcing the tragic news to the masses of Southern Sudan today evening in a press briefing at Southern Sudan Legislative Assembly premises, the First Vice President of the Republic and President of the government of Southern Sudan, Lt. Gen. Saliva Kiir Mayardit said Minister Dominic Dim together Dr. Justine Yac Arop died in a plane crash at 10.10 am after their plane took off from Wau Airport heading for Rumbek to pick Lt. General Oyai Deng Ajak en route to Juba.
President Kiir said the two prominent members of SPLM died together with their beloved wives accompanied them after completion of SPLM state congress in Wau.
He stated the plane crashed after reaching about 25 miles from Rumbek was carrying 21 passengers including the crews, all died. The two engine of the plane failed; hence there was nothing the pilot could do after he has informed the control tower of the engine failure.
The crashed plane was provided by Cem Air a South African company and operated by Flex air in Kenya. It was a South Sudan Air Connection service at the time of the crash.
On board were the wife of SPLA Affairs minister, Mrs. Josephine Apio and the wife of Dr. Justine Yac, Mrs. Elizabeth Agwet. Others were Rt. Big. Dunatu Dau Manyak, Mr. Deng Ajak of Kush Institution, John Awuko, Major, Galuak Gwok, Malong Dwok, private secretary of minister, 2n Lt. Chol body guard of the minister, Mr. Mangok Andrea, Moses Akol Ayen Akol, Lt. Col. Machol Lweth, cameraman, private Mangong Garang, Private Daniel Abyei, Private Dim Koul Dim, Mr. Zakaria of signalist in the minister’s office, two female identified bodies plus the two crewmembers.
They had gone to attend SPLM congresses at the state levels and were returning to Juba via Rumbek after completion of their mission. The two engine failed thence there was nothing the pilot could do after he has informed the control tower of the engine problems.
Gabriel Changson, Southern Sudan government spokesperson and minister of information said in a press statement that the plane was ancient and that might caused the crash of the aircraft.
Further, a statement from the Civil Aviation Corporation in Khartoum said the crashed plane was a Beech 1900 registered in Kenya.
The statement indicated that the plane was in a flight from Wau to Juba, and near Rumbek town the captain contacted Rumbek airport tower about an engine fault calling for landing permit due to his inability to resume the trip.
However the plane crashed and burned before reaching Rumbek airport, a matter which caused the death of all the 19 passengers and the two-person crew, the civil aviation said.
NOT THE FIRST TIME
"We have gone through so many of this events and this would not be the first time for us to receive such news." Salva Kiir said.
"Although it’s a very painful lost, I ask all of you to be strong in the face of this tragic day, we have to continue with the implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement." He added.
"What has happened has happen and we have to continue with the struggle". Salva Kiir underlined. Adding that, "when the first tragic incident happened in 2005 were the chairman of the SPLM and the First vice president of the Republic and President of the government of South Sudan, Dr. John Garang de Mabior died in a plane crash, whole world expected disintegration of the people of southern Sudan but with courage commitment and dedication to the cause of the people of southern Sudan, they managed to continue with the struggle to the present."
Kiir said UNMIS has sent their copters at the site and managed to recover the bodies of all passengers who were burned beyond recognition and are fling the bodies to Rumbek and later the bodies of the two prominent SPLM members will be flown to Juba tomorrow morning in accompany Lt. Gen Oyai Deng Ajak.
President Kiir extend sincere condolences to the bereaved families and declared three days national mourning in Southern Sudan starting from tomorrow 3rd to 5th May 2008.
In Khartoum, the Sudanese presidency also issued a statement extending condolences to their families and to the government of southern Sudan.
In telephone call to Vice President Salva Kiir President Omer al-Bashir convoyed his deepest condolences to the government of southern Sudan.
The Secretary-General’s Special Representative in Sudan, Ashraf Jehangir Qazi, has conveyed his condolences to the Government of South Sudan (GoSS) on today’s tragic plane crash. He also offered deepest sympathy on behalf of the United Nations and UNMIS to the bereaved families of the crash victims.
On hearing the tragic news, the Governor of Central Equatoria State, Clement Wani Konga put on halt the state congress that kick off today morning and he together with delegates’ went to pay their condolences to the brief families.