Plane crash claims the life of Congolese Presidential Advisor


(eTN) – Information has been received from the Eastern Congo, that a plane crash in Bukavu has claimed the life of top Congolese Presidential Advisor Augustine Katumba Mwanke, while seriously injuring the Congolese Finance Minister and other senior officials of the regime in Kinshasa.

The Governor of South Kivu Province, Marcellin Tshisambo, suffered fractures in both legs. Antoine Ghonda, a politician who had previously served as a roving ambassador for Kabila, was also among the injured.

There were eight passengers onboard, and 2 American crew members also died. The pilot and Mwanke died instantaneously.

The aircraft, a twin-engined Gulfstream 200, had flown in from the capital Kinshasa via Goma and apparently slid off the runway on attempting to land after an “unusually steep final descent” according to the report received, indicating that not all was well with the preparations to land the aircraft. It is now a matter of the unfolding air accident investigation to establish what led to the crash and why the pilot did not do an “overshoot” and then tried to land a second time.

Most airlines registered in the Congo have been banned by the EU’s black list. The country has among the worst record with aviation safety, yet all past accidents have failed to improve the situation vis-a-vis maintenance and crew training, as this latest accident once again shows.