PLANE CARRYING UPDF SOLDIERS CRASHES
UPDF soldiers examine the remnants of the plane that crashed this afternoon. On board were several UPDF officers and three whites. Photo by Warom Okello
By Warom Felix Okello & Tabu Butagira
Posted Monday, December 12 2011 at 16:12
A plane carrying UPDF officers and three whites burst into flames shortly after crash-landing in a remote part of Arua district, bordering the Democratic Republic of Congo. The military carrier identified by security sources as an Antonov An-2 nosedived shortly after lifting off from Arua Airfield en-route to Nzara airfield in South Sudan, just west of Yambio, and near north-eastern Democratic Republic of Congo border.
Witnesses say the plane failed to gain altitude after take-off. It hit a tree during the fall and crash-landed on two huts in Ayivuni Sub-county before exploding into flames 5 minutes later, according to our Reporter, Felix Warom, who is at the scene.
None of the affected household members was at home.
Only three of the seven plane occupants, four UPDF officers and 3 foreign nationals, sustained minor injuries. One of the white men, believed to be an American citizen, was piloting the plane when it came down Monday afternoon.
Police fire-fighters, who arrived about 40 minutes after the crash, are trying to put out the embers, but the huts have already gone up in smoke.
UPDF Air Force Spokesman, Cap. Kiconco Tabaro, confirms the incident but says the ill-fated plane does not belong to Ugandan military.
He says: “It is not a UPDF Air Force aircraft and I am not better placed to comment on an asset that does not belong to us.”
Preliminary reports suggest the plane was hired by an American Company and flying in on a yet undefined business. UPDF and their American counterparts are in parts of eastern DRC on the hunt for LRA leader, Joseph Kony, and his fighters.