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30 people killed in Sudan Airways crash - statement

June 11, 2008 (KHARTOUM) — The Sudan Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) said today that 30 people were killed in the Airbus crash yesterday at Khartoum Airport. Further it said that six are still missing while the total of survivals is 178 people.

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Men bury bodies of victims of the Sudan Airbus plane crash during a burial ceremony at Alsahafa graveyard in the capital of Khartoum, June 11, 2008 (Reuters)

The Sudan Airways Airbus A310 had gone off the runway after landing at Khartoum International Airport, and several loud explosions resounded as fire raced through the aircraft.

In its latest statement released this evening, the CAA said that a hostess was among the 30 victims, while 10 crew members survived.

Airbus announced Wednesday it was sending a team of specialists to Khartoum to help determine what caused a jetliner that had just landed in a thunderstorm to veer off a runway and burst into flames.

In a statement, Airbus said the A310 involved in the accident was 18 years old and had been operated by Sudan Airways since September 2007.

The Airbus A310 is a twin-engine, widebody plane used by a number of carriers around the world. Typically configured with about 220 seats, it is a shorter version of the popular A300.

The French government said on Wednesday it would send a team of investigators to help Sudanese authorities to find the cause of the crash. "France stands ready send to Khartoum in the coming hours, a team of investigators from the Accident Investigation Bureau" the spokesperson for the foreign ministry Mrs. Pascale Andreati said in Paris.

In Khartoum, Sudan Airways General Manager, Abdallah Idris declined to comment today on the cause of the crash saying it is too early to speak about it. However the plane had landed safely at the airport and the question is why it skidded off the runaway and exploded after.

It Khartoum also criticism goes to the delay of rescue workers and firemen. Eyewitnesses say firefighter, arrived and started to extinguish fires on half hour after the accident. Also they used water instead of liquid fire-extinguishing agent normally used in such case.

Informed sources told Sudan Tribune that a delegation of the international aviation authority visited Sudan last year and underlined the lack of the rudimentary safety equipment to the Sudanese officials who pledged to undertake the necessary measures.

Sudan is constructing a new airport to replace the current old one.

A burial ceremony for the 30 dead was held Wednesday in Khartoum’s al Sahafa cemetery. The President Omer al-Bashir attended the public funerals and other senior officials.