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US Dyncorp company confirms crash of its charity flight in Uganda

By Adriana Stuijt     Mar 9, 2009 in Travel
An Iluyshin-76 four-engine cargo plane with eleven people on board crashed into Lake Victoria after take-off from Uganda's main airport at 5:14 am Monday. It was chartered by US Dyncorp, which confirmed the crash. There seem to be no survivors.
Although the wreckage has not yet been retrieved, fears are strong that all eleven people on board probably were killed when the plane sank. Three deaths of Burundian army officers were confirmed thus far. see
The Somalian conflict is beginning to take a heavy toll of Burundian soldiers: hree weeks ago, eleven Burundian soldiers were also killed in a suicide bombing in Mogadishu, Somalia and 15 injured.
The plane, registration S9-SAB, was operated by an international cargo company located in Russia -- which uses some of the most experienced military pilots in the world -- Aerolift . It was chartered by Dyncorp, the US military and intelligence contractor, to fly emergency supplies to Somalia.
DynCorp International's director of media relations, Douglas Ebner, told Digital Journal today by email from Virginia that he 'can confirm that an aircraft chartered by DynCorp International crashed in Lake Victoria, Uganda, early Monday morning local time."
No further information was forthcoming from the company. However, Ignie Igunduura, spokesman for the Ugandan Civil Aviation Authority, says it was taking off from Entebbe airport to Somalia with tents and water purification equipment for the African Mission to Somalia (AMSOM). The fate of the other passengers is still unknown but he feared they were all dead. The plane sank in Lake Victoria.
Igunduura said salvage efforts were underway. “The Entebbe airport and UPDF Marine Search teams immediately went to the scene where the aircraft had crashed and sank,” said Igunduura, who feared all the people on board had been killed.
It might be a big task to retrieve the huge transport plane: Lake Victoria is 84 meters deep as it occupies a wide depression between the East and West Great Rift Valleys running down the spine of Africa. It's the largest of all African lakes, is also the second widest freshwater body in the world. Its extensive surface belongs to the three countries; the northern half to Uganda, the southern half to Tanzania, and part of the northeastern sector to Kenya.
Igunduura has thus far confirmed only that three Burundian officers were killed. Burundi troops operate in Somalia under the auspices of the African Union peacekeeping effort.
The identities and nationalities of the people on board will be disclosed after their next of kin have been informed.” Operations at Entebbe airport have not been affected.
DynCorp International - run by retired US military and security experts -- is a provider of specialized mission-critical services to civilian and military government agencies worldwide, and operates major programs in law enforcement training and support, security services, base operations, aviation services, contingency operations, and logistics support. DynCorp International is headquartered in Falls Church, Va in the United States. Its international executive vice-president, Gen. Anthony Zinni retired, has been asked to comment.
Aerolift was established in 1996 with Russian military equipment and retired Russian military officers 'to "meet the ever-growing international need for a dedicated, specialist aviation contract operator", it says on its website.
Three weeks ago, a suicide bombing in Mogadishu Somalia took also took the lives of 11 Burundian soldiers from the African Union contingent in Somalia and seriously injured 15 others.
The UN Secretary-General said he still firmly believed in 'AMISOM’s continued commitment", and that its sacrifice in Somalia must be backed by wider support from the international community so that it can effectively carry out its mandate under difficult circumstances. "
More about Eleven feared dead, Iluyshin-76, Somalia, Burundi, Entebbe airport crash
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