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South Sudan plane crash kills all 10 on board

South Sudan’s civil aviation authority has sent a team to investigate a plane crash Tuesday in Jonglei state that killed 10 people, including two crew members.

Kur Kuol, director of the South Sudan Civil Aviation Authority, told VOA’s South Sudan in Focus Wednesday that preliminary investigations suggest both engines failed minutes before the plane went down.

“In just 10 minutes from Pieri, according to the information that we have, one engine stopped and then it was about to return to the airstrip, the other stopped and so the plane crashed,” said Kuol.

The HK-4274 commercial passenger aircraft belonged to South Supreme Airlines, which is owned by South Sudanese businessman Ayii Duang Ayii. It was flying from Juba to Pibor when it crashed at Pieri Airstrip in Uror County.

State Governor Denay Jock Chagor offered his condolences to the families of the victims. In a statement released Tuesday, Chagor confirmed all eight passengers and two crew members on board died in the crash. Investigators with the South Sudan Civil Aviation Authority are searching for the plane’s black box, said Kuol.

The plane was in good condition before takeoff, according to Ayii Duang Ayii, director of South Supreme Airlines.

“There is no airplane allowed to take off when there are technical problems. [A] captain can’t accept to take off when he knows there are some problems in the plane, so we don’t know what has happened with the plane,” Ayii told South Sudan in Focus.

The plane was co-piloted by a 30-year-old South Sudanese/American pilot who received his flight training in the U.S. before returning to South Sudan more than 10 years ago, when he began working for South Supreme Airlines.

Ayii said his airline will respect the findings of the investigation.

“Every plane is under national rules. Later we shall find out the cause of the crash and who is to blame,” Ayii told VOA.

In March 2017, an Antonov An-26 belonging to South Supreme Airlines was destroyed in a fire after it crash landed at Wau Airport on a domestic flight from Juba.

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